Thieves are striking it rich, making fast cash on platinum catalytic converters, according to industry experts.
Metro dealerships tell News 9 they are seeing more of their customers becoming victims of the crime. Service technicians say there's been a spike in catalytic converter theft in general, but especially with the Honda Element.
The Element's part-platinum converter can net a crook about $200, but it can cost the car owner or an insurance company up to $2,000 to fully replace, victims say. Oklahoma City businessman Tom Zercher is a recent victim of the crime.
"With the right tools, [a thief] can clip it off in a matter of two minutes," Zercher said.
Zercher's car was in a parking lot outside his northwest side business when the crime occurred. It was daylight at the time, and the car was just across the way from a well-traveled road … but there were no witnesses who came forward.
Zercher says vehicle owners need to pay more attention. He suggests investing in an alarm system. As for the thieves, Zercher has a different suggestion –- "Get a job," Zercher said. "People are hiring, we're in Oklahoma."
Other metro areas have been experiencing the same spike, according to reports. Police in Atlanta say it is one of the biggest crime trends hitting the city right now.
Platinum has a market value of about $1,400 dollars per troy ounce.