Catalytic converters stolen from school buses

Published 10:14 am Wednesday, December 28, 2022

By Emily Burleigh

American Press

There are two open investigations regarding catalytic converter thefts of Calcasieu Parish school buses that occurred over the holiday weekend, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

The first theft occurred on Friday. Deputies were dispatched after receiving a call that a catalytic converter had been stolen from a school bus parked in a residential area on W. Roosevelt Street.

The second theft occurred on Sunday at Lake Charles-Boston Academy of Learning. There, deputies found that one bus was missing its catalytic converter and one bus had its converter partially sawed off.

Calcasieu Parish School Board Public Information Office Holly Holland confirmed the occurrence of the thefts, and said CPSB has deferred all further action to CPSO, as it is an ongoing investigation.

Detectives with the CPSO’s Vehicle Crimes Investigative Unit are investigating both cases.

Catalytic converter theft is a rising problem. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, there has been a 1,215 percent rise in catalytic converter thefts since 2019. The theft is attributed to the three precious metals commonly used to manufacture them — platinum, rhodium and palladium. The stolen converters are sold to recycle, scrap or metal yards.

According to Kitco, a global precious metals authority, 1 oz. of platinum is being bid at $1,020, 1 oz. of rhodium at $10,900 and 1 oz. or palladium at $1,756.