Is Your Life More Valuable Than A Catalytic Converter?

Catalytic converters contain palladium and rhodium. These metals fetch a pretty penny at recycling centers. For this reason, thieves cut them off vehicles and turn them in for some quick drug money. Texas made the list of top five states for most catalytic converter thefts.

Increase in Catalytic Converter Thefts:

To put the dramatic increase in context, Houston reported 85 catalytic converter thefts in all of 2018. This year, Houston Police report two-thousand two hundred thefts.

catalytic converter thefts

So what does this have to do with concealed carry?

More thefts equal a greater possibility for a confrontation between the vehicle owner and thief. But, unfortunately, confronting the thief isn’t always the smartest thing to do.

Each month I sift through 50 or so news stories of civilian defensive gun uses. Then I whittle it down to 5 or 6 that make it into the Podcast. I can’t think of a month where I didn’t find at least one report of a person who left the safety of their home to confront someone on their property.

Occasionally the good guy scares the thief(s) off. Other times the homeowner uses deadly force against the thief, or the suspect uses deadly force against the good guy. Unfortunately, a happy outcome is never guaranteed, and there are instances where the good guy ends up severely injured or killed.

I get it. People work hard to earn money and provide for their families. And replacing a catalytic converter and other exhaust work is not cheap. So it becomes very tempting to try and intervene in these situations.

First Incident:

For example, here are two incidents from Texas. The first took place on the night of July 9th in Fort Worth. News reports say a father and son left their home to confront a catalytic converter thief. Ultimately, the father is shot in the chest by the thief. You can read more about the incident here.

Second Incident:

The second happened in Houston on an August 14th night. Again, a man leaves his home to confront tw0 thieves stealing the catalytic converter off his vehicle. According to news reports, one of the two men advances toward the owner with “a drill.” The vehicle owner fires several rounds at the pair striking one of them.

One ends up in the hospital, the other in custody. Reports say the police are still investigating and haven’t cleared the shooter or arrested him. You can find more info on this incident here.

Principle of Avoidance:

These are just two recent incidents that popped up in my news feed. And I know we harp on the principle of avoidance and not leaving a position of safety to confront a thief. So it may appear like I’m beating a dead horse here.

You may be right. However, I feel inclined to remind and encourage anyone who reads these posts that their life is much more valuable than any “thing” a thief can steal.

Any time we are involved in any confrontation, the odds of us getting injured/killed increase. But not just that. We increase the odds of our actions leading to injury or death of someone, criminal or innocent.  And we could also end up going broke defending our actions in court or spending years in prison.

catalytic converter

Tools of the typical catalytic converter theif.

I am certainly not suggesting that confronting someone is illegal or immoral. It just may not be the wisest choice.


I hope if you find yourself in a situation like this, you have a sober mind and make a prudent choice. Before you get involved, ask if your life is worth more than a catalytic converter. If so, calling the police and giving a good description and direction of travel may be the best course to take.

Self-defense law can seem very complicated. However, a fantastic resource is this book called The Law of Self-Defense from Attorney Andrew Branca. I can’t recommend it enough. I believe that every person who owns a gun for self-defense read the book.



  1. Dave on August 30, 2021 at 10:22 am

    Reminds me of what our instructor in my Arizona CCW class said. He said:

    “I will always want to see thinkers instead of shooters”

    • Buck on May 18, 2023 at 6:52 pm

      Why can’t we just go back to reasonableness? We work hard to make our and our families lives better right…so if someone is interfering with any of that or our property we should have absolute right to protect it by any means necessary! No chance someone is “accidentally” trying to assault or steal! It’s a very simple and just system 🤷‍♂️🤷‍♂️

  2. Mark Edwards on September 1, 2021 at 9:54 pm

    Don’t confront the thief.
    Shoot him in the face with a rifle from a safe distance. Then call police to complete a report.

    • Kevin on September 2, 2021 at 5:22 pm

      You do realize that would be murder right? I’m hoping you aren’t serious. If you are serious, you need to pay more attention to this site.

  3. Ronnie Mathews on September 1, 2021 at 11:08 pm

    When you’ve been victimized multiple times, often multiple times by the same person, it’s very hard to not intervene.

  4. JDM on September 2, 2021 at 3:46 am

    Jump in car put it in reverse and speed off to the store or just around the block. Màybe you’ll get lucky. Maybe he won’t.

  5. Jaime V. on September 2, 2021 at 6:59 pm

    I heard there are a few things you can do to deter the thief:

    1. Weld your Catalytic Converter on.
    2. Weld on a cage around the Catalytic Converter.
    3. Engrave your VIN # on the Converter.

    Has anyone tried any of these options?

    • Mark DeBacker on September 19, 2021 at 8:16 pm

      Virtually every Prius in my neighbor of 3000 has had theirs stolen (over 80) in the last 12 months or has installed a cage. Two arrests with trunk loads of cats & still thefts continue. Now shifted to Ford pickups. Neighbor interrupted 2nd attempt on his truck last night.

    • g on September 26, 2021 at 6:17 pm

      Cats are already welded on from the factory.
      Buyers don’t care or even look for a vin# on it.
      Cage may help if it,s tough enough but not likely

  6. Rambo on September 3, 2021 at 12:23 pm

    You don’t have to shoot him just get there attention by shooting 1 or 2 rounds in the ground that should get them going if not put some buck shot in there butts.

    • Bob on September 26, 2021 at 12:17 pm

      LOL. For real?

    • Art on February 8, 2022 at 5:47 am

      Don’t do that. Unless you’re planning on shooting somebody don’t shoot warning shots

  7. Gus on March 26, 2022 at 10:40 pm

    Pretty simple. If your lucky enough to catch in the act they will be on there back under truck right? You stomp there nuts in !

Leave a Comment