DES MOINES, Iowa –Her car started right up, but sounded more like a stock car than a Honda CRV.
“It gave like a huge roar and sounded very angry and so I was like, oh that’s strange” said Emily Kincaid.
What Kincaid says is stranger, was the explanation she was given at the mechanic. She had been robbed.
“They basically said that your catalytic converter and the oxygen sensors were removed” she said.
Someone had gone underneath Kincaid’s SUV while it was parked and hacked off the part.
“I was totally in shock, I was not expecting that. I didn’t know that was a thing that people did” said Kincaid.
Mechanics say it’s more common than you may think. Why? Because the converters use precious metals to help oxidize chemicals in the exhaust and make it cleaner burning.
“So inside there’s these small passageways but they use platinum and palladium in these. This right here probably goes for about $100 at the scrapyard” said Chris Nigon of All Pro Service Center in West Des Moines.
Nigon says if a thief can easily get under your car, like Kincaid’s, the process can be done in minutes with the right equipment.
Police say it’s a crime that goes in and out of style. They’ve gotten a handful reports over the past few months but wouldn’t call it a rash of thefts. Unfortunately, there’s not a whole lot you can do to prevent it.
“Where there’s a will there’s a way. If they want it bad enough, they’re going to get it. The best thing you can do is if you have secure parking then use it. If you don’t, try to find a place that’s going to be well-lit where there’s somebody alerted if somebody’s sawing away on your car” said Des Moines Police Spokesman Paul Parizek.
That’s why Kincaid says this crime is even crazier.
“I live on Cherry Street and I park right across the street in an open parking lot that my apartment building uses, and there are tons of cars around. I mean, it’s pretty much full every single night and so I didn’t ever think that this would happen” said Kincaid.
Unfortunately, it would have cost her about $1,000 to fix, and with the car only worth about $1200 she just decided to have it totaled and get a new car.