By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Cleve White Nissan reports theft of 12 catalytic converters
catalytic converter
A catalytic converter is seen in the photo above. Cleve White Nissan in Statesboro recently discovered the theft of 12 catalytic converters - photo by Special
    Locking your doors may not be sufficient anymore when it comes to protecting your vehicle. A recent trend shows thieves are climbing underneath cars instead of breaking into them, taking catalytic converters instead of CDs and stereos.
    July 2, a customer at Cleve White Nissan was testing a potential purchase when he noticed the car was quite noisy. An inspection revealed the catalytic converter was missing, said Statesboro Police Chief Stan York.
    A Cleve White Nissan associate checked other new vehicles on the lot and
sure enough, catalytic converters had been removed from 11 other vehicles.
    Why? Platinum, said Statesboro Police Capt. Scott Brunson. Catalytic converters contain three to seven grams of the precious metal. In addition to it being used for fine jewelry, platinum is used in catalytic converters to convert harmful engine emissions into less harmful ones.
    And stealing the car part is easy.
    "They crawl up underneath the vehicle with a Sawzall and cut it off," he said. "They cut two pipes and it drops right off."
    Platinum is pricey, as it is the rarest of all precious metals, according to Web site
    "Catalytic converter platinum consumption in developing nations is becoming an increasingly important factor for the platinum market," according to the Web site. " Much of the world runs on diesel, a fuel that works best with platinum catalysts as opposed to palladium catalysts. Countries that, two decades ago, might have had little if any environmental legislation, now have restrictions on auto pollutants in place.
    Information from another Web site,, states platinum has risen in pricing to over $2, 000 an ounce, "and considering each catalytic converter contains between three and seven grams of the stuff, that little metal box under your car just became a whole lot more interesting to certain folks."
    Apparently folks living in or visiting Statesboro are aware of the value of platinum. Cleve White Nissan isn't the only victim. Those thefts were apparently committed at night, but at least two victims elsewhere in the city lost  their catalytic converters in broad daylight, in downtown Statesboro.
    Monday, Statesboro Police responded to two separate reports of catalytic converter theft. York said.
    Both victims parked near BB&T and Simmons Shopping Center, he said, and "during the daytime hours, someone cut the exhaust pipe on their vehicles and took the vehicle's catalytic converter."
    It's not just a local problem. Brunson said it's widespread, and not long ago a St. Simons auto dealership was victimized in a theft similar to the Statesboro Nissan dealership.
    "The Statesboro Police Department as well as other police agencies have experienced an increase of thefts involving catalytic converters," York said. "Based on reports and other data, it appears the larger vehicles are becoming the main targets because of their height an easy accessibility."
    He urges citizens to become more aware of their surroundings and report any suspicious activity.
    Brunson said it's easy to tell if someone has tampered with or removed your catalytic converter.
    "Your vehicle won't start or will make the loudest ... racket you ever heard," he said.
    Anyone with any information about the local catalytic converter thefts is asked to contact Det. Keith Holloway with the Statesboro Police Department's Criminal Investigations Division at (912) 764-9911. "Anyone providing information will be held in strictest confidence," he said.
Sign up for the Herald's free e-newsletter