WACO, Texas (FOX 44) – The Waco Police Department has seen 85 catalytic converter theft cases since April.

At this time last year, there were 169 converters stolen. In 2022 so far, there are 184.

Thefts from three Toyota Tundras were reported Thursday night. Waco PD says Toyotas and Mitsubishis are the most common for theft recently.

Jesse Britts Automotive says it has seen people come in with their converters stolen about once a month over the last few years.

Thursday night, a woman who wishes to stay anonymous says she came home around midnight. By the time she woke up in the morning, her catalytic converter was gone.

“I started to turn my car on and it sounded like a race-car,” she said. “It was super loud. I immediately knew what happened because I’ve been hearing about this in Waco all over the place.”

Thomas Whelcher at Jesse Britts Automotive says catalytic converters have particular metals in them giving them a high value.

She wasn’t the only one who got hit at her complex. While Jesse Britts auto has seen steady cases, the shop this woman went to had many cars there that had fallen victim.

“When I brought my truck to the repair shop, they essentially told the tow truck driver to just put it with the rest of them,” she said.

She says dealing with getting her car fixed is inconvenient, but it’s mostly all scary.

“It’s just crazy that it literally happened right outside my window in the middle of the night, right under my nose,” She said.

Waco PD says to protect yourself, you can get your cars’ VIN number etched into the converter. Also,
at night park in well lit areas and as close to the front of the parking lot as possible. Toyota has plates you can buy for their cars to protect your converters.

When converters are stolen it’s possible your gas line was cut. If you start your car and it does not turn on immediately, check underneath your car and do not try and start it again because it could start a fire.

New legislation passed last year made it a felony to buy these products without proper paperwork.