APD spokesperson Anita Shell says in many cases brazen criminals are sawing the part off cars in public parking lots, including those of the Providence Alaska Medical Center, a Midtown Office Depot on Tudor Road and an East Anchorage Home Depot on Rodeo Drive.
Catalytic converters contain precious metals which create a chemical reaction in exhaust chemicals. Their platinum, rhodium and palladium is worth from $10 to $175 per converter, according to Autocat Recycling owner Mark Sawyer.
Sawyer says it is difficult to protect yourself, because catalytic converters do not contain serial numbers. Last year his three statewide locations made at least $24,000 from recycling an estimated 12,000 converters.
At Specialty Truck and Auto, owner Keith Manternach says his shop has taken care of two of the vehicles which had their converters removed, which can cause thousands of dollars in damage depending on the vehicle model.
Shell says police have no suspects or surveillance footage to aid in their search. They are asking the public if they have seen any suspicious activity in parking lots since around the time of spring breakup to give them a call at 786-8900.
Email Matthew Simon