Prius Cat Theft Tracking

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by PriusCamper, Jan 25, 2021.

  1. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    Here is the very best PriusChat post ever about why California won't allow cheap aftermarket cat replacement for cat theft victims.

     
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  2. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    State of Oregon has some legislation that will ban metal scrappers in the state from buying catalytic converters. Not sure how helpful that is because the people who pay the thieves probably aren't the ones trying to run a legitimate metal scrapping business.

    And what are muffler shops legally going to do when they replace a bad cat? Drive all their cats over the border to a neighboring state rather than have their licensed and bonded scrap guy deal with it? And though it does look like there may be language in the bill to address this, it will may only be more favorable to the big repair shops rather than the little ones. Stay tuned...

    New Oregon bill hopes to curb rampant theft of catalytic converters - oregonlive.com
     
  3. Socal_Prius

    Socal_Prius Junior Member

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    Wow, talk about over reach for a state that is not even being affected by this; outside of Ashland and Portland they don't even have smog laws and thus aftermarket cats are the norm if/when they go bad.

    Also, this doesn't mean they can't just sell them online as is the norm--paypal takes their cut as does ebay but they get sold for $1300 in matter of days. This sucks for the guys at Atomic or anyone who would want to sell them to get a credit type deal, but otherwise its not going to do much. It's all just grandstanding that underscores a more systemic issue, specifically in CA but also in the rest of the US: massive wealth inequality and unemployment.
     
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  4. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    Meanwhile, this dude in Southern California in a FB group who knows how to weld pipe had his mother in law's cat "almost stolen." Guess something scared 'em off soon as the saw started to power up?

    159839607_3796807403690274_3531700744943298457_o.jpg
     
  5. Socal_Prius

    Socal_Prius Junior Member

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    20210216_173531.jpg I'm pretty sure the idiots cut that thing incorrectly, too.

    It's between the two canisters and along the o2 sensor so its right down the middle... It's fixable but will likely leak with time and is probably going to throw a code if it leaks as it won't register a proper reading as it's right next to the downstream 02 sensor.

    Edit: definitely looks like before the DS 02 Sensor, I had look for the pic mine when.
     
    #65 Socal_Prius, Mar 13, 2021
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2021
  6. SeattleBebop1

    SeattleBebop1 Member

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    This is CBS Sacramento. First news report that so strongly labels it an international theft ring. Apparently China is also cracking down on emissions and the demand is high there, although the chart shows other countries receiving our stolen goods as well.



    :edit: The reason I'm calling this out is that if we only address with statewide legislation, it's not going to make much of a dent if it's an international smuggling ring.
     
  7. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    Well you're conflating two different issues. One issue is the actual theft and who's behind it and the framing of this TV news coveraged is awful because you don't just pull a Trump and racistly blame China for all your problems. Every muffler shop has a metal recycling buyer engaged in legitimate business and is licensed and insured. Then there's all the other people, some are legit precious metal collectors, some are criminals paying poor people a $100 for a cat and some are globally organized crime rings like the hype-sensation based TV news reporters sloppily cover.

    As for state legislation, that an entirely different issue that needs to be addressed in California specifically because they require OEM replacement which are massively backordered and can be equal to the value of an old Prius once the final bill is added up. Whereas in other states, an after market cat is $130 and aftermarket 02 sensor is $20 and it takes an hour or two of labor, so an old Prius can still have some years left on the road. That's what the California legislature needs to address.
     
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  8. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    While it's exceptionally rare that a cat thief is going to cut through your cat protection shield... I mean imagine how much noise a saw on that thin plate would make? A person in a Prius FB group just posted this:

    158661463_10165214760635556_5786841081520669467_n.jpg
     
  9. Socal_Prius

    Socal_Prius Junior Member

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    :eek:

    Oh, wow... Where was this? Any chance I can get a link to that group via PM? I don't do social media, I don't think forums count, but I've been absolutely engrossed on this matter for the last couple of weeks as I saw the culmination of all my observations.

    But, as noted, we are seeing more arrests happening; today it was announced that on top of the 250 in LA, there was another operation in San Bernardino county with 150 (Prius not specified but likely included) and 3 other arrests were made, so in total 22 people have been arrested so far in SoCal alone. Given the frequency in NorCal was higher I expect that will yield a massive glut of them as well.

    I still cannot believe this is happening, and Newson is likely to not care as he is dela with a recall and an abysmal and bleak economic 'recovery' as things are only now starting to open up a year after shutdown.
     
  10. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    Maybe upload the pic into google image search and see what comes up? The person who posted this pic was countering my claim that there's no evidence of people cutting through a cat shield. So they posted this pic they found with no reference. For all we know it was a disgruntled employee at the muffler who wasn't happy with how well the cat shield was attached. :)
     
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  11. Crunchewy

    Crunchewy New Member

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    So I think we just got bit with this Maryland. Our 2007 Prius is making a terrible racket when the gas engine is running and there's the smell of oily exhaust. I'm not car savvy enough to know that it's actually missing or not, but from what I'm reading I think this has to be it. I had been told about this theft problem and, in a huge mistake, chose to ignore it. Is it safe to drive the car to the shop (it's not too far) or should I have it towed? And can a shop get and install an aftermarket cat for us? Also, is this only a problem on older Prius? We also have a 2012 Prius c and 2013 Prius c. Should we get those plates installed on those too?
     
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  12. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    Look under the car and see if the pipe under the front seats is missing. And it's safe to drive, but... There's 4 wires that get damaged when they yank it out and you want to make sure there's tape over any exposed parts of those wires so they don't short out, which can damage engine computers.
     
  13. Crunchewy

    Crunchewy New Member

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    Thanks. After I posted that I went back and looked at it again, but couldn't really tell, but then I took pictures of the bottom of my car with my phone and in some of those I could see the cut pipe and also a small bundle of cut wires, plus then I noticed some parts on the ground, so it was obvious then that it was stolen. We reported it to the police and they told us this area has seen a huge uptick in these crimes recently, and it's mostly been this gen of prius and, for whatever reason, mostly 2009 models (though ours is a 2007). Put in a claim with our insurance company, but the car has 170k miles on it, so we are worried they are going to total it. Not much we can do about that. Just keeping our fingers crossed.
     
  14. Crunchewy

    Crunchewy New Member

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    We got our cat replaced using our insurance so it was fine. What surprises me is that the estimate for the parts was only $755.67. So that has to be an aftermarket or at least otherwise less valuable catalytic converter, right? So is it now much less likely it would be stolen? Or do I still need to get a security plate installed? The location where this car was parked has zero street lights.
     
  15. ETC(SS)

    ETC(SS) The OTHER One Percenter.....

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    Good to hear.
    Hope your rates don't go up.
    1.) ONLY?!
    Maryland has its problems, but at least you can use a non-OEM replacement catalytic converter, O2 sensor, etc.
    $755 is almost as outlandish as the prices that they are paying out on the left coast.....but it probably includes hardware, o2 sensors, plugs, wires, nuts, bolts, graft, thievery, price gouging, etc....
    You just stated that the parts bill was $755, so I'd say that depends on where you live, and how many other recently decatanated Priuses are looking for a way to save $755----maybe with owners that do not have comp and collision.
    In my part of the country, cat theft is nearly unheard of - and half of our vehicles are already raised enough so that the would-be thief would not have to use a jack. ;)
    That would probably slow them down a little bit, but you're looking at about $250 plus shipping and installation.
    I'd go to the nearest muffler shop and tell them that some know-it-all that you met suggested that they could probably weld some rebar or bar stock onto the muffler pipes to keep them from being easily cut.
    Tell them that the know-it-all suggested that they could do it for $150 out the door.

    If they presume that you know nothing about cars and shank you for another $100 - you're still cheaper off than using some aluminum plate - and the right kind of bar stick would be a MUCH MORE effective solution - if properly applied.

    Good Luck.
    Hope your rates don't go up. :unsure:
     
  16. chronon

    chronon Active Member

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    actually.. because of time contstraint and the pressure from buyer .. i bought the replacemnt from amazon .. (to correct the earlier stating ebay) ... amazing how so little work is so expensive .. (muffler related) guess it has to do with the expense of a shop with a lift ... I would have liked to have a properer pipe fit using the clamp .. even if it needed using the pipe expander ..
    for the better flow .. oh well .. i think the replacemnt is ever so slightly louder .. but the car seems to be happier with fresh cat to breath through .. thought there was nothing wrong ( no codes) with the existing one ...
     
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  17. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    Confessions of a cat thief:

    "A second officer arrived at the scene, and while that officer talked to the driver, the other officer found catalytic converters and power tools in the back of the truck. The man was detained and questioned and he told police that he carries two car jacks with him when he steals the devices, and that he can steal them in as little as one minute, or many as 20 minutes, depending on the vehicle. The converter can be sold for upwards of $2,000, he told police. The man said he had stolen about 30 converters, attempted to steal hundreds of them and bought around 270 in the past year to sell, according to the report. Most of the thefts were in the Bellingham area, according to the report. It can cost the vehicle owner between $1,000-$3,000 to replace the catalytic converter, according to the NW Insurance Council." https://www.theolympian.com/news/local/article250163835.html
     
  18. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    duplicate post
     
  19. Georgina Rudkus

    Georgina Rudkus Senior Member

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    C.A.R.B. states are required to provide longer warranties on hybrid batteries. The same regulations can easily be modified to require the same manufacturers to provide replacement cats without the entire resonator, and in case of Gen 3 and above, pre-heater coolers, which are bulkier and more costly in material and shipping, at cost, if rules do not allow for an aftermarket replacement.
     
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  20. PriusCamper

    PriusCamper Senior Member

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    Sure wish CARB states would be more responsive like that... Thus far the states responding to the theft epidemic have been tone deaf and not helpful to the victims. State or Oregon responded by banning the sale of used Cats unless it's a Business to Business transaction and California is requiring photograph and ID of the person selling the cat, but nothing thus far to make the victim's situation easier to deal with. In some cases like above they're making it more difficult not less difficult for theft victims. It's a big mess that nobody wants to yet properly address.
     
    #80 PriusCamper, Mar 27, 2021
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2021
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