June 28, 2022—Arkansas has reported an uptick in catalytic converter thefts, adding to the rise in thievery connected to this car part across the country.
According to the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, the state had just 19 reported catalytic converter thefts in 2019, followed by 58 in 2020. There was a massive increase in 2021 with a reported 275 thefts for the year.
The article also cited a BeenVerified analysis that showed catalytic converter thefts quadrupled in 2021 compared to 2020 nationwide. In the first four months of 2022, BeenVerified estimated 26,000 thefts nationwide.
University of Arkansas Fayetteville Police Department Captain Gary Crain said that 23 theft cases were handled through the department in 2021, and so far in 2022 they have had eight instances of catalytic converter theft that they have dealt with.
"The time it takes to steal the catalytic converter is a minute or two and the thief is gone," Crain said in the article. "Little to no evidence is left at the scene."
Additionally, Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge issued a warning last year regarding the thefts in an effort to keep citizens of the state informed. He also used it as an opportunity to advise citizens on how to protect their vehicles from catalytic converter thefts.
"These criminals are stealing catalytic converters that will end up costing thousands of dollars to fix," Rutledge said in the article. "I want Arkansans to know the signs beforehand so they can protect themselves."
An Oklahoma man named Peter Taber was actually arrested last year for stealing catalytic converters from six vehicles at Siloam Collision Center in Siloam Springs, Arkansas. He was ultimately placed on five years of state supervised probation and had to pay the collision center $3,600.