Catalytic converters stolen from pick-up trucks at local dealership

PITTSBURGH — Police sources tell Channel 11 that thieves stole catalytic converters from pickup trucks right on the lot of the Cochran Dealership on Racetrack Road in North Strabane Township. That dealership isn’t far from the Meadowlands Racetrack and Casino.

Pictures show the truck allegedly involved in the thefts, and with Virginia plates, going from Allegheny to Washington County. The back of that truck appears to be loaded with stolen car parts.

Channel 11 went to Apex Auto Service on the South Side and talked with a mechanic about the value of catalytic converters and how thieves get away with stealing them.

“All you need is a standard saw blade,” Jason Heckathorn tells Channel 11. “You roll under the car and the saw will take it off in about 30 seconds.”

Heckathorn says catalytic converters can be worth hundreds, especially if they’re factory installed.

“The metals you’re going to find in a catalytic converter that are worth the most money are rhodium, palladium and platinum,” Heckathorn said.

He says the higher up the vehicle — like an SUV or truck — the easier the catalytic converters are to steal. Heckathorn says he only sells catalytic converters to trusted businesses with a paper trail, but there’s a black market where illegitimate folks sell stolen goods for big bucks. Heckathorn says he’s received calls from people who won’t give their full name and want to know if he has any catalytic converters for cash. While thieves can make a couple hundred a part, you’ll be forced to pay potentially thousands for a replacement.

“Unfortunately, in the middle of the night at 2 a.m., if someone has a sawzall, you have a truck and it’s sitting outside and nobody’s around, you might be missing your catalytic converter in the morning,” Heckathorn adds.

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