Theft of catalytic converter and silencer setup from Maruti Eeco vans
Stripping junk cars has long been a business. And so has stolen parts. The latter of course of dubious repute. But while stolen logos, tyres, and mirror units are traded as is, it seems the exhaust pipe, aka silencer from Eeco vans is being repurposed for a good value trade. Thieves have taken special interest in the catalytic converter that is fitted to the BS6 silencer.
The exhaust pipe emits gases which have long been a matter of grave contention. With cleaner and green emission norms being the order of the day, a catalytic converter is a critical component. essentially, it converts toxic emissions from combustion.
The converter does this through catalytic chemical processes before it emits from the silencer. And because the process would be compromised through corrosion, the Platinum group of Metals (PGM) is crucial to its manufacturing.
Concentrated crime spree
Coppers at Anand district have arrested five gang members. The quintet have allegedly stolen 33 Maruti Eeco silencers in a crime spree that ran amok for 3 weeks. Prior to this, a similar spate of theft was reported in September of 2020.
The end goal being, metal dust collection that is found inside the silencers. This in turn can be sold at high prices. Residents of Ahmedabad, the gang went about zeroing in on Maruti Eeco units parked in stockyards and isolated spots. Efforts were concentrated around Anand and Kheda districts. Once the silencers were stolen, they were processed for metal dust.
Precious metal dust
Selecting Eeco as a target vehicle is mainly because it’s fairly easy to have the silencer come undone. And there’s a higher amount of palladium to be extracted. With platinum, palladium and rhodium metal dust extraction being a key focus. With much demand in industrial use, rhodium and palladium metal dust has a going price range of 3k-6k for 10 grams.
While resources are limited, extraction and refinement add to the cost of metal dust as a raw material. Thus, catalytic converters are recycled to collect metal dust for a range of industrial applications. Metal dust quantity in newer vehicles is more than in those that have run their course.
Since the start of FY21, India mandated BS6 emission norms. A catalytic converter is a key component of the exhaust setup so emission standards can be met. The converter filters emissions by catalyzing a redox reaction. The thieves were caught after reviewing CCTV footage, which showed them arrive in a Fortuner, and steal exhausts from brand new Maruti Eeco BS6 cars which were parked at dealer stockyard.