There's a new subset of car thieves who aren't after your car—they want your catalytic converter. This according to a Wall Street Journal trends piece, which says the lure is the palladium contained inside. The metal is one of several housed in the device, and it's used to render the toxic fumes produced by the engine less harmful before they flow out your tailpipe. It's also more valuable than gold these days, with the price jumping by 50% over the last six months. That's due in part to a clamor for cleaner-burning gas engines, which in turn require the converter's palladium content to be increased.
The Journal says a bump in thefts has been reported in Chicago and London. A rep for the Chicago PD says thieves have refined their moves, which involve getting underneath the car with a reciprocating saw, and often target several blocks in one night. Their haul at the scrap yard? Roughly $150 to $200 for the few grams of palladium inside each one, per the rep. The price of palladium is currently about $1,400 per ounce; gold is about $1,300. Read the full article here. (Or read about other kinds of car thefts.)