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Toyota Gang that stole catalytic converters busted

Police in Malaga have arrested four people for carrying out the thefts of almost 40 catalytic converters across the Costa del Sol

The National Police have detained four people in Alhaurín de la Torre for thefts along the entire Malaga coast. The four- known as the ‘Toyota Gang’, especially targeted Auris and Prius models.

The detainees are suspected to have been involved in the theft of nearly 40 catalytic converters. These devices are part of a vehicle’s exhaust system and contain valuable metals such as platinum, palladium, and rhodium, making them highly sought after on the black market.

A catalytic converter beneath the carriage of a modern car

The investigation, which was conducted by the West Police Station in Malaga, Spain, links this gang to the theft of 37 catalytic converters in the main municipalities along the Malaga coast. All the stolen devices were from Toyota brand vehicles, mostly Auris and Prius models.

The gang was reportedly capable of stealing up to 10 catalytic converters in a single night.

Upon their arrest, the gang was found to be in possession of three recently stolen catalytic converters, as well as a hydraulic jack, a battery-powered saw, and a hammer, all essential tools for their thievery.

This police operation was initiated following a rise in the number of theft-related complaints, which occurred at night and stretched across the Vélez-Málaga to Marbella regions. The gang’s modus operandi involved selecting a target vehicle, lifting it with a hydraulic jack, and then cutting the ends with an electric or manual saw to extract the catalytic converter.

The Malaga Provincial Police Station reported that the investigation led to the identification of four suspects who resided in Seville and travelled to Malaga to carry out their criminal activity.

What is a catalytic converter and why is it so expensive?

A catalytic converter is a device that is installed in a vehicle’s exhaust system. Its primary function is to reduce harmful emissions by converting toxic gases such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and hydrocarbons into less harmful compounds such as carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and water vapour.

The reason catalytic converters are expensive is due to the precious metals they contain, such as platinum, palladium, and rhodium. These metals are used as catalysts to facilitate the chemical reactions that convert the harmful exhaust gases into less harmful ones. The amount of precious metals used in a catalytic converter can vary depending on the make and model of the vehicle, but they typically contain several grams of these metals.

Due to their high value, catalytic converters are often targeted by thieves who steal them and sell them on the black market. As a result, some countries have implemented legislation to regulate the sale of catalytic converters and to make it more difficult for thieves to profit from stealing them.

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