Auto Shop Manager On Catalytic Converter Thefts: It’s Out Of Control

Tommy Jenkins is the Wonderful Muffler Man, a one-man shop along Rice Street in Roseville. With over 25 years in business, Jenkins has gained a loyal following with classic car owners wanting his custom welding work.

Over the past few months, though, he’s been busy installing catalytic converters for other customers who’ve had the car part swiped by thieves looking to cash in on the precious metals in them.

‘I’ve seen a massive uptick in business,’ Jenkins said. ‘I’ve had weeks where I’ve done five, six. But this has been creeping up over the last three years, and now these thieves are going crazy with it.’

Catalytic converter thefts have skyrocketed recently in the Twin Cities metro area and across the United States as the price of platinum, palladium and rhodium increased, while the black market for the car parts — and the quick cash they bring thieves — grew.

And that has set off a new series of headaches for theft victims: a nationwide shortage of replacement catalytic converters, which in turn has led to higher costs and longer repair wait times.

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