Vanpoolers Beware: Catalytic Converter Thefts on the Rise

Recent Lancer Insurance Company claim statistics show that catalytic converter thefts from passenger vans are on the rise. Seven catalytic converters have been reported stolen from Lancer insured vans within the past week, with thieves likely dismantling or sawing off the parts for the precious metals contained inside.

While all of these claims are from various locations throughout Virginia, the theft problem is not isolated to that state. The thefts are part of a growing nationwide trend, with criminals frequently using handheld power tools to cut off catalytic converters located in the undercarriage of vehicles in a matter of minutes.

The catalytic converter is a vehicle emission-control device, in front of the vehicle’s muffler, that helps to clean up harmful gases before they are emitted into the atmosphere. Various metals, including platinum, palladium, rhodium and copper, help the catalytic converter remove toxins from the vehicles’ emissions, and it appears that the soaring prices of some of these metals are inspiring the spike in catalytic converter theft activity. According to investigators, the stolen parts can be sold for hundreds of dollars.

In light of this recent rash of catalytic converter thefts, we encourage all Vanpool policyholders to:

  • Remain vigilant

  • Adjust the van’s security system, if so equipped, to activate from vibrations, such as those produced by a saw

  • Park your van in a closed garage or well-lit area

  • Park close to building entrances or the nearest road in public parking lots where many people can see it

  • Park your van in the view of surveillance cameras, whenever possible

  • Consider installing a catalytic converter theft prevention lock, or have it welded to the vehicle’s frame

  • Engrave your vehicle’s VIN number to the catalytic converter, as many scrap yards are required by either local or state law to ask for identification before buying a used converter

  • Report any suspicious activity to law enforcement immediately.

If you are a Lancer Vanpool insured and find yourself the victim of catalytic converter theft, please report it to Lancer Insurance Company immediately by calling:


While the theft of catalytic converter is nothing new, skyrocketing values of the precious metals used in them will continue to drive criminals’ interest, particularly in hybrid vehicles where the devices get used less often due to the vehicle partly using electric power. Take steps now to help avoid becoming the target of these criminals.