If you're a car enthusiast, you're probably well aware of the value of a catalytic converter. Affectionately called the "cat," the emission-reducing component of the exhaust houses precious metals and can sometimes fetch over $100 at a scrap yard or recycler, depending on the car it came from. Naturally, the cat has become an easy target of criminals, especially in Europe.
One Twitter user recently posted a photo of a pair of thieves stealing a catalytic converter from a Toyota Prius in broad daylight. The thieves emerge from a Ford Focus and jack up the Prius, quickly executing a well-planned mission that they seem to have carried out several times before.
With the Focus parked in the center of the road, one man stands lookout while the other crawls under the front of the car. A battery-powered Sawzall is used to remove a portion of the exhaust with the cat, then the car is lowered back to the ground. The entire video is only 44 seconds long, so we're not sure how long the actual process took from start to finish, but the thieves easily made a quick buck at the Prius owner's expense
The actual crime took place in eastern London, and police say that these types of thefts have become increasingly common in the capital city. In fact, in 2018 alone, more than 900 exhaust thefts had been reported to authorities. It's surprising, given the frequency of the thefts, that onlookers passed by and even filmed without intervening or calling authorities to stop the crime. While normally I would caution phoning the police on a hunch, it's pretty clear what's going on in this particular video.
Police blame rising emission standards for the increase in thefts, saying that they are actively working with automakers to resolve the issue. For this particular incident, police say that they are aware of the crime and are attempting to identify the suspects in the video.