Nearly 1,300 catalytic converters stolen in Nassau since January

Nearly 1,300 catalytic converters stolen in Nassau since January
More than 1,200 catalytic converters have been stolen throughout Nassau County since January, according to the Nassau County Police Department. (Photo by Noah Manskar)

Nearly 1,300 catalytic converters have been stolen throughout Nassau County since the beginning of the year, compared to just 131 last year, officials from the Nassau County Police Department said during a meeting of the Lakeville Estates Civic Association last week.

A total of 1,290 catalytic converters have been stolen in Nassau since January, with hundreds reported in the New Hyde Park area, officials said during the meeting. Catalytic converters use a chamber to transform harmful engine emissions into safe gases before they get released in the air.

While it is illegal to resell catalytic converters, Det. Sgt. Jeffrey Raymond, the commanding officer of the Nassau County Police Department’s Burglary Pattern Crime Squad, said the precious metals found in catalytic converters — rhodium, platinum and palladium — can be worth significant money.

According to a report from, one of the world’s largest precious metal retailers, the price of rhodium is more than $12,000 per ounce, with palladium coming in at more than $2,000 per ounce and platinum worth nearly $900 per ounce as of July. The report said that the price of those precious metals has increased since the start of the 21st century. Other reports have credited the overall rise in stolen converters to how easy it is for individuals to steal them.

Raymond said locking cars and parking them in a garage or protected/monitored driveway area are the two best ways to protect against people stealing the converters. He also noted that bail reform laws and New York’s Raise the Age laws make it difficult for police to ensure that the individuals who commit these crimes are not able to do so again.

“Unfortunately with Raise the Age…it affects us,” Raymond said. “There are no repercussions for them. What we’re seeing is a lot of younger kids, 15, 16, 17 years old, coming here, working for an organization…to steal high-end cars, bring them over to New Jersey, get paid for it and if they get arrested, nothing happens to them.”

In 2017, New York raised the age of criminal responsibility to at least 18 years old. The civil age of majority and age of criminal responsibility is 18 in both New York and New Jersey. Any juvenile case for an individual 13 years or older can be transferred to an adult court in New York. In New Jersey, a discretionary and presumptive waiver can be used for youth 15 years or older that meet certain criteria.

Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman and Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder also credited an overall rise in crime to the Raise the Age and bail reform laws when they announced that roughly 75% of the stolen vehicles throughout the county ended up in New Jersey this summer.

“You can’t keep letting people out of jail,” Ryder said during a July press conference. “They know if they come here, they will not get arrested, but still they also apply to Raise the Age. They send 15- and 16- and 17-year-old kids to do these acts and they know if they get caught…they’re going to get out.”

“Because of laws like cashless bail and Raise the Age, people in the whole state have been less safe,” Blakeman said. “We have people who commit crime after crime in New York. They steal a car, they’re out the same day. The next day they steal a car, they’re out the next day.”

From Jan. 1- Mar. 31, more than 300 stolen vehicle reports were filed to the county’s police department, a 255% increase from the same time frame last year, according to statistics.

Officials said nearly 90 percent of the 11,000 people arrested in the county in 2021 were released without bail. More than 300 of those individuals were released without bail following a weapons-related offense, according to officials.

Ryder said car thieves will drive the car around and leave it somewhere and if nobody comes near the car and it is not impounded, then the car will be rented to another individual who uses it to commit other crimes.

Stealing cars that have garage door openers inside are also ways to attract repeat offenders, Ryder said, as criminals will sometimes rent the car but keep the garage door button to come in and burglarize an individual’s home.

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