Column | Somebody stole the catalytic converter off of my Prius

This morning my wife went to the car with my son to take him for a haircut. We have two cars, and one of them is a 2008 white Toyota Prius. Not the most glamorous car on the road, but it gets us where we need to go.

Well, it used to.

When my wife turned the car on, after the usual Prius start-up hum, the engine kicked on and it sounded like Fonzie’s motorcycle. Priuses (Prei?) are renown for their notoriously quiet ride (and superb gas mileage), so imagine her surprise and now imagine her pulling out the key and running away from the car, as she described to me in detail.

After I started the car, I heard for myself what I can only describe as the eruption of Krakatoa. A brief internet search resulted in the likely culprit, and searching under the car confirmed it – someone had stolen the catalytic converter right out from under our poor Prius.

Evidently, this is a thing now. I know I’ve heard about it on the news, but as my life in Jenkintown Borough has been idyllic, it sort of went in one ear and out the other. It’s Thanksgiving, and I have work things due, and report cards came out, and life; that stuff won’t happen to me. It happened to me.

For the uninitiated, a catalytic converter is about the size of a lunch box located in the exhaust system of gasoline and hybrid vehicles. They filter out the pollutants in the exhaust through the rare metals platinum and rhodium, which make them coveted on the black market. Thieves target older model Priuses in particular because their catalytic converters have a higher concentration of those metals…and also because of how easy the part is to steal.

Here is a video we found on You Tube of how fast it happens:

So there you have it. We have another car and we are insured but we still are going to have to pay a steep deductible. There are people that have it much, much, much, much, much worse than we do but still, it’s kind of a bummer. Even worse, we live in Jenkintown Borough, and have heard that we aren’t even close to the first people this has happened to in our area.

Bottom line, if you have an older model Prius, hug it a little tighter tonight and keep an eye on it. We sure will.