Prius converter stolen 4 times on the same car

Converter Theft is out of control

Having your catalytic converter stolen is bad luck. Having it stolen 4 times in a row? Well, that’s living in Berkeley with Gen2 Prius. That’s exactly what happened to one of our customers. In case you’re thinking of blaming the victim and saying, “Well everyone knows Prius converters are getting stolen. She should have installed a converter shield.”, don’t, because she did.

After her converter was stolen the first time, she had us install our first-generation anti-theft cable, but a week later some a**hole managed to steal the converter despite our best efforts. We installed a new converter and we installed our second-generation anti-theft cable. You can probably guess what happens next.


The converter was stolen again and she took the car to another shop to have a different kind of anti-theft system installed, a converter plate I certainly can’t blame her since our system had let her down twice. However, the converter shield didn’t stop the thieves either. They were able to remove the converter without even removing the anti-theft plate. Well, the under-converter plate didn’t bother the thieves, but it did slow us down, since we needed to install the whole converter, not just a small part of it.

Belt and Suspenders

This time we did everything we could think of. We welded on 4 cables instead of the single cable we used on our first system. We welded the converter to manifold bolts to the exhaust manifold so they can’t be removed. Then we reinstalled the anti-theft plate the other shop had installed.

Is It Theft Proof?

Unfortunately, some highly motivated thief may steal the converter yet again. It will be really really difficult, but it can be done. Think of anti-theft systems like bicycle locks. Even if you get the best U-lock available, it may still be defeated, and they routinely are. Does that mean you shouldn’t lock your bicycle? No, because as you know, theft is almost guaranteed if you don’t lock your bike up.

As of today, we’ve installed 591 anti-theft cables. So far, there have been only 3 thefts with this system installed that we know of; two of them on this car! That’s a better than a 99% success rate, and I hope that this continues to be the case. Is our system perfect? No, but nothing is, and we’re making improvements as we go.

What else can be done?

I really don’t want to bring this up, since I lived through the 90s, but motion sensing alarms with loud sirens might not be a bad idea. I assume they still exist, even though I haven’t heard one rotating though its siren tones for years. We’re not offering install them here, but check with High Tech Car Audio in El Cerrito if you’re interested. They’re likely to know what’s available.