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LAKEWOOD, Colo. (KDVR) — A Lakewood woman is sharing her story after a plot to steal a catalytic converter turned violent, and ended in a police chase, shooting and arrests in Douglas County.

Numbers from Lakewood Police show that so far in 2021, there have been 139 reported catalytic converter thefts. In comparison, during the same timeframe in 2020, there were only 54 thefts. Thefts have more than doubled in the last year. 

All of this is because catalytic converters contain valuable metal like platinum, palladium, and rhodium.  

The Lakewood woman is warning others after her car was stolen while she was at work.  

Her car was parked in the shopping center parking lot near 1st and Wadsworth and the catalytic converter was stolen in broad daylight. 

Laura V. works at TJMAXX and Sprouts and was working when someone stole her catalytic converter during her shift. 

The Honda CRV she drives is 22 years old, so she doesn’t have insurance on it. 

She had to get a new catalytic converter and then bought a cover hoping to deter criminals from stealing it again. Now she’s out $1,800.  

“A supervisor came in and said you have the Honda CRV right?  I was the only car in the lot, the only one standing out like a sore thumb. And I said ‘yes why?’ she said ‘well I just saw some people around your car and a girl underneath it. And I called the cops and I’m on the phone with them right now,’” recalled Laura.  “I went out to my car, turned it on, it sounded like a semi-truck. The fumes came in under the floorboard and it was stolen.”

According to JD Power, the average catalytic converter ranges between $800 and $1,200, depending on the vehicle’s make and model. In general, the larger the engine, the more expensive the converter. The catalytic converter on a Ram 2500 has a price of $3,460.

Since police have their hands full already, Laura is hoping to hold scrap yards accountable for buying stolen items.   

Laura knows you can’t avoid parking in public parking lots, so she advises getting a converter cage or shield to act as a deterrent for thieves.