Why RV Catalytic Converter Theft Is a Serious Problem

Typically carried out under the cover of darkness, catalytic converter theft is a sneaky and costly crime. And RVs are much larger then cars, so they can haul more valuable parts.
rv catalytic converter theft

Fox News calls it the nationwide epidemic of catalytic converter theft.”  

As we detailed in our previous blog, Catalytic Converter Theft: A Quick and Destructive Crime, catalytic converters stolen from car dealerships can cost business owners $1,000 or more to replace each missing part. But cars aren’t the only targets: RVs are too.

The U.S.experiences more than 14,400 RV catalytic converter thefts each year. That number is increasing. RV PRO says the instances of RV catalytic converter thefts have risen fourfold in the last three years. Why are thieves targeting RVs and how can owners practice better catalytic converter theft prevention?

Larger Target, Larger Haul

Thieves are after the precious metals inside of catalytic converters, and they can fetch hundreds of dollars just by selling the parts for scrap. So, it makes sense that larger vehicles, such as RVs and campers, would be a favorite target of criminals – larger vehicles means larger catalytic converters which equals more money. 

RV Catalytic Converter Theft Prevention

Some RVs are also more at risk. RV PRO says, “While any vehicle can fall prey to thieves, some Toyota models are coveted because their catalytic converters have a higher concentration of precious metals than those of other manufacturers, so they command higher prices.” Toyota makes mini motorhomes, including the Chinook, Sunrader, Winnebago, and Itasca. All are at risk of catalytic converter theft, as are any other RV brand. bran and o o

No matter the brand, just how costly can a catalytic converter theft be for an RV dealership or reseller? Here are three real world examples of major losses:

Las Vegas, Nevada In early 2023, thieves boldly stole 28 catalytic converters from 28 RVs right on the Las Vegas strip this year. The local news reported that many vehicle owners were affected; the RVs were both new and in the lot for repair. 

Lorain, Ohio – According to a local report, thousands of dollars’ worth of catalytic converters were stolen from an RV dealer in January. Police say several people hopped a fence and took off an hour later. During that time span, 18 catalytic converters were stolen, with each converter valued at nearly $2,000 – totaling a $36,000 loss for the business.

Lincoln, NebraskaA report from last May details the story of an RV dealership hit by thieves not once, but twice, in a month. Employees say they were getting RVs ready for a test drive one morning when they realized catalytic converters were missing from nearly a dozen of them. Each part is estimated at $1,600 to replace. Following the incident, local police reported that they had already experienced nearly double the amount of catalytic converter thefts from the year prior (91 thefts as of May 2020 compared to 52 thefts at the same time in 2019).

The bottom line is that while cars may seem like an obvious target for thieves – RVs are just as vulnerable. And if catalytic converter thieves aren’t spotted and stopped early, business owners may be left paying thousands of dollars to replace parts and repair damage.

RV Catalytic Converter Theft Prevention

When it comes to RV catalytic theft prevention, business owners have several options to decrease their risk of becoming a target. Some techniques for preventing RV catalytic converter theft include:

  • Secure parking facilities: The number one step for businesses is to secure their vehicle parking areas. Controlling access to designated parking areas can deter thieves. Installing surveillance cameras and alarm systems can act as effective deterrents and provide evidence in case you (or your customers) become a target.

  • Fencing and barriers: Physical barriers such as parking lot fences can make it harder for thieves to target a business. Adding bollards or chains helps enhance security by limiting entry points and making it challenging for thieves to maneuver their vehicles near to their RV target.

  • Motion activated lighting: Many surveillance cameras offer motion activated lighting, which offers businesses a deterrent for criminals that may make them think twice before targeting your business. Installing these motion activated tools around the RV parking lot can startle potential thieves and draw attention to their behaviors. Bright lights that automatically illuminate when motion is detected as effective deterrents. It makes sense; thieves work under the cover of darkness.

  • Virtual security patrols: Live security guards are very expensive and smaller businesses may find them cost prohibitive. Instead, remote security guards are a lower cost option for 24/7/365 monitoring of the RVs on your lot. Live security guards increase the risk that they will be injured during their shift. Virtual security guards can not only watch your property from every camera angle but can also protect themselves while still protecting your business.

  • Catalytic converter security devices: There are several anti-theft devices available to specifically protect catalytic converters. These devices include catalytic converter shields, clamps, and cages that make it harder for thieves to remove the catalytic converter. While these are strong deterrants, they are ultimately also expensive.

RVs Meet Remote Video Surveillance

RVs Remote Video Surveillance

Catalytic converter thieves often rely on the vehicle they are stealing from to block the view of anyone who may be watching. In the case of an RV lot, that can add up to quite a bit of coverage. Luckily, there’s a solution that can stop thieves before they slip under a vehicle and get to work.

Pro-Vigil’s remote video monitoring services are designed to spot suspicious behavior – before it’s too late. By combining surveillance cameras with artificial intelligence, our system can determine when someone is on site that shouldn’t be, and activate deterrence features ranging from flashing lights, to loudspeaker announcements demanding the intruder vacate the premises.

Not only do these features send would-be criminals running, but they also provide peace of mind for business owners and employees who are likely at home when these incidents take place.

Catalytic Converter Thieves

Please contact us today if you would like to learn more about how Pro-Vigil can help deter crime at your business.

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