Jan 10 2010
In the DC metroplex it isn't uncommon for people to drive to a Metrorail station (which aren't always just down the block), grab a space somewhere in the daily parking lot, and then walk inside to catch the subway. The down side of this is that you have to leave your car sitting unattended and unmonitored for something like ten hours out of the day... as a few people have recently discovered one's catalytic converter, which contains non-trivial amounts of rhodium¸ platinum, or sometimes palladium (which is why they're so damned expensive to replace) are being stolen right out from under the car in broad daylight. Not many have happened yet around here, just a few since June of 2009, but apparently word's been getting around since at least 2008. Interestingly, trucks and SUVs are being targeted preferentially, probably due to how far off the ground they are compared to cars. The thing that really gets me, however, is that the catalytics are being cut right out of the cars' exhaust systems; four-foot lengths of assembly have been reported being removed. From a few other reports I've dug up this week it seems like the Milwaukee Sawzall might be the tool of choice here; I should add, reports from people who heard someone using a power tool of some kind beneath a vehicle as they walked by but did nothing to investigate.
EDIT: Here's the letter that started it all.