Norfolk County

Thieves target catalytic converters in quiet Boston suburb

NEEDHAM, Mass. — Naomi Litrownik was shocked that on her quiet Needham street, her car was targeted.

“Nobody heard anything. I have a dog. Neighbors have a dog. Nothing,” said Litrownik, whose catalytic converter was stolen.

Thieves targeted the catalytic converter in her Prius.

“As far as we know it happened early Sunday morning because I tried the car on Monday and it had this awful sound to it,” said Litrownik.

And it’s not the first time thieves have struck in this leafy Boston suburb.

“As soon as I posted it I saw that I guess five were stolen around our neighborhood,” she said.

It can take thieves less than two minutes. Catalytic converters are targeted because they’re made with valuable metals. Matt Nutting is a local mechanic and he says they can be worth hundreds of dollars if not more.

“I used to work at a parts store they are six hundred to seven hundred dollars a piece. Some are well over a thousand,” said Matt Nutting who is a mechanic in Needham.

“Most of them some sort of titanium blend in there. It has a good heat resistance is why they use it.”

And it’s not just happening in Needham but across the state and the country.

Several vehicle makes and models are prime targets.

“A Carfax survey of body shops across the country shows that Ford F-150s are the biggest targets nationwide, Hondas come in second, the Prius is number 10.”

One of the easiest ways to protect your self is to install a security device.

A cage or shield that covers the catalytic converter costs between one hundred and three hundred dollars. They can delay thieves who like to work quickly. Once they see the shield it may make it not worth the time or trouble to tamper with your car. .

As for Litrownik, she has a word of warning for neighbors. “Put your car in the garage,” she said. Hers sits there now. While not as convenient it is one way to protect your car from being targeted.

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