Skip to main content

Amid spike in catalytic converter thefts, St. Paul PD hosting clinic to mark devices

The thefts of the devices have skyrocketed because the value of the precious metals they contain is increasing.
A marked catalytic converter. This can help prevent them from being stolen. 

A marked catalytic converter. This can help prevent them from being stolen. 

Catalytic converter thefts have increased across the Twin Cities and the United States in recent months, and now the St. Paul Police Department is offering a way to help people prevent theirs from being stolen.

Police have long urged motorists to park in well-lit areas or a garage to help deter someone from sliding under their vehicle and taking off with their catalytic converter, but now the SPPD is offering a free, drive-through auto care clinic on Saturday where people can get their catalytic converters marked, (see photo above), a SPPD news release says.

The SPPD says marking catalytic converters, the exhaust control device on the underside of vehicles, can deter thieves because scrap yards and recyclers often won't buy them if they have been marked. 

This can help save motorists hundreds to thousands of dollars as stolen catalytic converters can cost $1,000-plus to repair. 

At Saturday's free auto care clinic, police will also offer theft-prevention license plate screws that make it more difficult for someone to steal license plates from vehicles. 

License plates are also a common, easy-to-take item that's typically a crime of opportunity based on necessity. People steal license plates to put on stolen vehicles to evade police or put them on their vehicle to conceal their identity when committing a crime, such as a gas drive-off. 

If you go

The free auto care clinic will be held in the North Lot of Allianz Field Stadium at 400 Snelling Ave. N from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 10.

Registration for the free event, which is open to the public, is encouraged but not required. You can register online here.

SPPD says the auto care clinic will not be held if it's raining, so keep an eye on the department's Facebook and Twitter accounts on Saturday morning in case the event is postponed. 

Thefts of catalytic converters on the rise 

A catalytic converter is an exhaust emission control device on the underside of a vehicle that breaks down the harmful contaminants in gas exhaust before they can be released into the air.

They're a popular target among thieves because they can lead to a big payday for minimal work — the devices can be snatched within just a few minutes using tools that are sold at a hardware store and then sold to recyclers and scrapyards for $50-$250 each, the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) says.

Sign up: Subscribe to our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

The catalytic converters are valuable because they contain small amounts of precious metals, such as rhodium. And the value of the metals has soared in recent months — the NICB says rhodium was valued at $14,500 per ounce as of December 2020 — leading to a spike in catalytic converter thefts across Minnesota and the U.S., in both rural and urban areas. 

In 2019, there was an average of 282 reported catalytic converter thefts per month in the U.S., NICB says. Last year, there was an average of 1,203 reported thefts per month, with Minnesota being among the five states with the most reported thefts. 

So far this year, 560 catalytic converter thefts have been reported in St. Paul, which is an average of nearly six per day, the SPPD says. 

In Minneapolis, there were 1,474 reported catalytic converter thefts in 2020, up from 207 in 2019, the Pioneer Press said on March 12. So far this year, more than 400 thefts have been reported.

In an effort to curtail the crime in Minnesota, state legislators have introduced a few different bills, including legislation that would restrict the sale of catalytic converters and ban cash sales of the devices, MPR News says.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2023-01-27 at 2.12.05 PM

Changes at K102's Chris Carr & Company, with Sam Sansevere joining as co-host

She is the daughter of former KQRS morning show personality Bob Sansevere.

Screen Shot 2023-01-27 at 1.16.21 PM

Minneapolis' Royal Foundry Craft Spirits announces closure

The distillery set out to infuse the Minneapolis craft cocktail scene with British flavor.


Shutterfly to cut almost 100 jobs at Shakopee facility

The layoffs are expected to impact multiple positions within the company.


Mill City Museum in the running to be named best history museum in the U.S.

The museum offers scenic views of the Mississippi River.


Man charged with attempted murder of White Bear Lake police officer

Daniel Holmgren Jr., 33, was being served an arrest warrant at the time of the incident.


Gallery: 1,000-acre Wisconsin resort listed for nearly $4.3M

The lush landscape features a creek and private lake.

school bus

Alert after Woodbury students approached by strangers asking if they want candy

Valley Crossing Elementary School urged parents to go over safety information with their children in response to the incident.

basketball unsplash stock

North St. Paul basketball cancels Eden Prairie game after opposing coach's reinstatement

Head Coach Cornelius Gilleylen said he let his players decide amongst themselves.

Pixabay - school - classroom

These are the nominees for 2023 Minnesota Teacher of the Year

Education Minnesota has nominated 131 teachers from across the state.


Cities prepare for release of footage showing Tyre Nichols' fatal arrest by Memphis PD

Minneapolis Police Chief Brian O'Hara issued a statement on the incident Thursday.

DeShaun Hill

Cody Fohrenkam found guilty of Deshaun Hill Jr.'s murder

The 15-year-old was fatally shot on Feb. 9, 2022.



'Takedown' of nationwide catalytic converter theft ring included seizures in MN

Federal, state, and local law enforcement made arrests and seizures in nine states.

Matthew Jacoboski

Charges: Man in clown mask caught stealing catalytic converters from dealership

Police found the suspect under a vehicle with catalytic converters in his bag, charges say.

Catalytic converter thieves hit Minneapolis youth nonprofit

Three of the group's vans have been sidelined.

Screen Shot 2022-04-28 at 8.32.28 AM

Is your vehicle among 15 models most targeted by catalytic converter thieves?

Owners of the 15 most-targeted vehicle models can have an identification number put on their catalytic converter for free, Minnesota authorities say.

Catalytic converter thieves hit another S. Minneapolis nonprofit

The group's vans have been sidelined by the crime.

Catalytic converter theft

Police: Catalytic converter thief strikes again, gets 11th DWI

He was arrested in Hopkins this week for the second time.