Brazen thugs armed with bats 'steal' car's catalytic converter

Shocking moment brazen thugs armed with baseball bats ‘steal’ car’s catalytic converter from owner’s drive in the middle of the day amid spate in thefts

  • Thieves targeted a Toyota Corolla Hybrid to allegedly steal its catalytic convertor
  • Footage shows the group jack up the car in Harrow, London, at 9.50pm on July 1
  • There has been a spate of catalytic converter thefts due to their precious metals
  • The average cost for replacing a catalytic converter is between £150 to £800 

Brazen thugs armed with baseball bats allegedly stole a car’s catalytic convertor while it was parked in its owner’s driveway in a broad daylight theft.

The gang of car thieves targeted a Toyota Corolla Hybrid in Harrow, north-west London, at around 9.50pm on July 1.

Shocking doorbell footage caught the moment the robbers, who were armed with baseball bats, jacked up the car in broad daylight while it was parked on a driveway.

In the clip, one crook was seen jacking the car up in less than 20 seconds while another knelt beside him and leant under the car with what appeared to be a metal rod.

A gang of car thieves (pictured) targeted a Toyota Corolla Hybrid in Harrow, north-west London, to allegedly pinch its catalytic convertor at around 9.50pm on July 1

A third thug, wearing a balaclava, sunglasses and a baseball cap, stood guard by the front door of the property, clutching a baseball bat.

The footage came to an end before the alleged offence took place. The owner, who wished to remain anonymous, said he reported the theft to the police.

There has been a spate of catalytic converter thefts due to the precious metals they contain, such as Rhodium and Palladium.

The former reportedly costs a whopping £20,000 an ounce while Palladium can fetch about £1,688 an ounce.

The horrified car owner said: ‘This is what happened at my house.’ 

Mortified neighbours slammed the ‘ruthless’ alleged thieves, saying the incident was ‘terrifying’.

Shocking doorbell footage caught the moment the robbers, who were armed with baseball bats, targeted the car in broad daylight while it was parked on a driveway

Julie Leach said: ‘This is all way out of control now.

‘Terrifying and right on your doorstep. Hope you’re all okay.’

Narpinder Dhanjal added: ‘Shockingly, they even have an armed guard preventing interference from the owner. Brazen.’

And Siti Mohiddin added: ‘Honestly, I feel like I don’t want to own a car anymore.

‘These guys are ruthless.’

While Tina Joshi said: ‘My goodness, this is scary.’

Divya Patel added: ‘It’s been happening for many years but is on the increase only because these scums are getting away with it.

‘It’s very costly to replace the catalysts.’

The average cost for replacing a catalytic converter is normally between £150 to £800, but cost more than £1,000 for some high-end vehicles, according to Book my Garage. 

MailOnline has contacted The Metropolitan Police for comment. 

It comes as thefts of catalytic converters have more than doubled in the last year due to the rocketing value of precious metals.

In the clip, one crook was seen jacking the car up in less than 20 seconds while another knelt beside him and leant under the car with what appeared to be a metal rod 

Some police forces have seen them rise by more than 400 per cent, with organised gangs targeting dozens of cars a day, according to data released in June.

Between 2019 and 2020, thefts across England, Wales and Northern Ireland rose by 104 per cent on average, figures from 25 forces obtained by Which? show.

Rare metals found in catalytic converters are more valuable than gold and can be easily sold on. 

A single converter, which cleans harmful gases before they exit an exhaust pipe, can fetch as much as £400.

Cheshire Police’s assistant chief constable Jenny Simms previously said: ‘We recognise the impact [of this] on victims. Policing and law enforcement agencies will continue to ensure that this low-risk/high-reward crime is targeted and offenders are brought to justice.’

Figures from 25 forces show that North Wales Police saw the largest increase, from 9 thefts in 2019 to 46 in 2020- a rise of 411 per cent.

Merseyside Police recorded a 295 per cent increase, from 20 stolen in 2019 to 79 last year.

It comes as thefts of catalytic converters have more than doubled in the last year due to the rocketing value of precious metals (stock image) 

Rural forces such as Norfolk and Suffolk also saw more than a 250 per cent increase in reports.

In April, a national police crackdown led to more than 1,000 stolen catalytic converters being recovered.

Over a week, a joint operation saw officers made 56 arrests, recover 1,037 stolen catalytic converters and 297 items of stolen property.

The previous generation of the Toyota Prius and Auris, and the Honda Jazz hybrid models are particularly at risk due to their higher concentration of precious metals, as first revealed by This is Money in November.

In May, a masked gang wielding baseball bats were captured on CCTV dancing in delight in Longsight, Greater Manchester, as they ripped the part from underneath a Toyota Prius belonging to foster carers of a disabled child.

Another incident in March saw brazen thieves jack up a car parked outside its owner’s home and steal the catalytic converter in a five-minute daylight raid.

The car owner was inside his home in Hurley, North Warwickshire, eating his dinner, but neither he nor other family members heard the thieves. 

And in September last year, three brazen thieves jacked up a parked car outside a Derby house in broad daylight and stole the catalytic converted in just 60 seconds.

CCTV captured brothers Anthony and Thomas McDonagh and accomplice Gerard McInerney in act, even casually leaning on their getaway car and chatting while people walked past.

Motorists are facing eye-watering repair costs, soaring premiums or even complete write-offs, according to the consumer group Which.

Insurance group Admiral recently warned of a 57 per cent increase in catalytic converter claims in March this year compared to the same month last year.

The average cost of a claim for damage is now more than £1,500, it said.

The AA has also seen a surge in breakdowns due to the crime.

The number of breakdowns it attended due to stolen catalytic converters rose from just 58 in 2017 to 3,910 in 2020. 

Which? found advertisements offering cash for scrap catalytic converters on Facebook Marketplace, despite this being made an offence under the 2013 Scrap Metal Dealers Act.

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