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Catalytic converter thefts on the rise at the Colorado Springs Airport

Posted at 10:31 PM, Aug 24, 2023
and last updated 2023-08-25 14:44:47-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — Monty Lee, a victim of catalytic converter theft, returned to the Colorado Springs Airport last weekend after taking a trip. His Toyota Tundra was parked in the long-term parking lot while he was away.

"It was quite a surprise to get back from a trip to find your vehicles basically un-driveable,” said Lee. “Started it up and it made an extremely loud noise, engine light came out on lights galore."

Then, he noticed the damage.

“Looked underneath, found out there was a lot of damage under there," said Lee. "The catalytic converter had been ripped out and taken off.”

According to the Colorado Springs Police Department between July 14th and August 20th, there were 14 catalytic converter thefts at the Colorado Springs Airport.

Investigators say Toyota's are popular targets because some models have more than one catalytic converter and may contain more precious metals. Trucks are also easier to get under.

I asked Lee if he had ever expected to be a victim of a catalytic converter theft.

“No, but I'd heard about it in the bigger city. Denver's that too,” said Lee.

It only takes seconds to steal a catalytic converter. Thieves can then sell this part for hundreds of dollars due to the precious metals to salvage yards, which makes it a popular and easy crime.

Lee took his truck in for repairs earlier this week. The two catalytic converters had to be replaced, which cost about $4,500 in damages.

“They had it in stock," said Lee. "That's the other risk, they may not have that particular catalytic converter in stock, they did for me, so they were able to get it done by Monday night.”

Below is a statement from the Colorado Springs Airport regarding thefts:

CSPD is extending and stepping up their already significant patrolling of the parking lots and have recently purchased a utility terrain vehicle to help with parking lot patrol.

WATCH: COLORADO OPENS GRANT FOR CATALYTIC CONVERTER THEFT VICTIMS

Colorado opens grant for catalytic converter theft victims

Applications for this grant are currently closed. At this time, there is no word on whether or not the grant will reopen.
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