CHICO, Calif. - Auto body shops in Chico said they are seeing one to two people a week coming in to replace stolen converters.
Victims of catalytic converter theft want to know why scrap metal places are accepting these targeted precious metals.
"Somebody is paying them for this product, and they are continuing to do it,” said Brent McCarthy, a realtor in Chico.
McCarthy said he is getting tired of these converters disappearing from under cars.
"I've had clients of mine who just purchased homes,” said McCarthy. “They call me a week or a month later saying that their catalytic converters were stolen off their car. They are curious if they purchased in the right neighborhood and if they purchased in a place that has a lot of crime or not."
When McCarthy became a victim himself, he had to stop the free van service he once offered his clients.
"I had to sell it because of all the issues I have been having with people either drilling out my fuel tank, cutting my fuel lines and also I have had my catalytic converter stolen,” said McCarthy.
So why are recycling centers accepting these precious metals?
"The person who is rightfully trying to recycle their catalytic converter because they do own it, we want them to have the right to recycle that material,” said Kim Scott, co-owner from Chico Scrap Metal.
The recycling center does have some protocols in place.
"For precious metals by state law we are required to collect ID, fingerprint and hold material for at least three days,” said Scott.
McCarthy hopes all recycling centers will listen and do more.
"They should all get together and for the good of the community say we are not going to take this product anymore,” said McCarthy.
Scott told Action News Now that it is a recyclable material.
“That is the business we are in, to recycle material,” said Scott.
One of the recommended ways to prevent this from happening to your car is to have a better alarm system, that way when any type of motion or touch a loud sound will go off.
"I know there are some companies that are able to put kind of like a security brace underneath the catalytic converter, almost like a security gate you would have on your house,” said Kareem Abouzeid, CEO of Knockout Collision Repair.
Chico Scrap Metal said that most converters brought in are from legitimate mufflers or auto body shop owners and they have not had any proven stolen converters turned in here yet.
"I don't think there's a neighborhood that gets it more than others,” said McCarthy. “I think it's equal throughout the entire city, unfortunately.”
Chico Scrap Metal added that most thieves bring the converters to the Bay Area because they can get more cash and have less chance to get caught.