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PDX sees more catalytic converter thefts, even after added security measures

Published: Mar. 23, 2022 at 10:38 PM PDT
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PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) - Catalytic converter thefts are still a problem not only on neighborhood street, but also at the airport.

That’s even after PDX added security measures and there’s a new state law to deter thieves.

“I fired it up and I could tell it sounded different kinda right away, I knew just from the sound,” Arthur Bermudez said.

When he got back from his weekend trip to LA, his car, which had been parked in long-term parking, was missing its catalytic converter.

“It’s sad that it cost me more to park at the airport than my flight to LA,” he said.

He said luckily he has an older car and the replacement didn’t break the bank, but still it’s frustrating when he expects his car to be safe while he’s gone.

“I understand if it happens on a random street but when you’re paying for parking especially ya know it ranges from 24 to 27 dollars a day, you would expect some kind of security or protection,” Bermudez said.

PDX did ramp up security in the fall because of catalytic converter thefts, including more police, private security and undercover patrols.

They added signs and lighting and closed an exit of the employee lot to stop people from walking in.

Those measures are still in place.

Even so, according to the Port of Portland, from January to March 22 of this year, there have been 38 reported catalytic converter thefts at PDX, compared to just 7 in that same time frame last year, which is more than five times.

Keep in mind, a lot more people are traveling and parking now compared to then. There was about a 70 percent increase in the number of parked cars in those time frames.

“You get upset like what are you paying for then,” Bermudez said knowing it’s such an issue and after his experience, he won’t be parking at the airport anymore, instead catching a ride next time.

A new state law started this year that stops scrap metal businesses from being able to buy catalytic converters from anyone but commercial sellers or the owner of the car it came from.

We checked in with the Multnomah County DA’s office to see if that’s been a deterrent to these thefts at all, but they haven’t looked at that data yet and said they’ll do so next month.