Catalytic converter thefts are nothing new to Plano. But now, thieves are targeting multiple high schools in the city.
According to Plano Police, there is a recent trend in vehicles being targeted in High School parking lots throughout the city. The vehicles being most targeted at this time consist of Toyota trucks, SUVs and Mitsubishi Outlanders. Plano Police Department Public Information Officer Jennifer Chapman told Local Profile there are not a specific schools being targeted.
“Although prices of metal have decreased and we have seen fewer numbers of catalytic converters being stolen, this property crime is still very relevant,” Plano police said in a Facebook post.
Because of the increase in these thefts over the years, several North Texas cities made it illegal to carry sawed-off catalytic converters. The law set in place for Frisco makes it easier to catch those who are removing them illegally for profit because mechanics unbolt them using tools, while thieves almost always cut them off to save time. If you are caught with a sawed catalytic converter the fine is up to $500 and is considered a misdemeanor. But if you are convicted of buying, selling or stealing a catalytic converter it will be considered a felony.
In 2021, Governor Greg Abbott signed House Bill 4110, which gives a felony conviction and six months to two years in prison for converter theft. Along with jail time, there’s also a fine of up to $10,000. Required documentation of sales is needed in order to buy or sell, but is difficult to enforce.
Plano police offered preventative measures on how to keep you are your vehicle safe from thefts:
• Install anti-theft protection devices such as shields
• Etch your VIN or other identifying information onto the converter
• Paint the converter orange
• Park in well-lit areas or by cameras
• Install motion-activated lights and cameras (residential)
• Be vigilant and report any suspicious vehicles or behaviors
• High-power tools (Sawzall) are typically used to remove the converter, so if you hear a loud cutting noise this could be an indication that criminal activity is afoot
• These thieves are typically armed, so do NOT confront them. Call 9-1-1
Police said that because this trend is now prevalent in high school lots, it is recommended to educate your children on these different tips on prevention and awareness.