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Watch now: Illinois ranks No. 5 for catalytic converter thefts, State Farm says

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They are expensive and vulnerable and thieves want the catalytic converter off vehicles.

BLOOMINGTON — The Prairie State ranks fifth in the nation for catalytic converter thefts, according to an analysis of claims data by State Farm.

The Bloomington-based insurer this week said more than 18,000 claims related to the theft of the auto part were filed nationwide from July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021. 

Of those claims, one in 10 were filed in Illinois, the company said. 


State Farm's corporate headquarters is on the east side of Bloomington. 

The national thefts figure from the 12-month span represents a 293% increase from the 4,500 claims logged in the 12-month period comprising the last half of 2019 and the first half of 2020. 

State Farm also said it has paid out more than $33.7 million to cover losses cited in the 18,000 claims. Payouts for the 4,500 claims totaled around $9 million.

"The trend is accelerating," the company said in statement. "In the last 6 months of 2020, State Farm paid out slightly more than $12 million in claims for catalytic converter theft, but in the first 6 months of 2021, that number has grown to more than $21 million in paid claims."

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It only took 90 seconds for three thieves to steal a catalytic converter in Seattle's Maple Leaf neighborhood in May. Surveillance video shows how quickly it was stolen.

Michael T. Keating, State Farm vice president of operations for property and casualty claims, in a statement cited the coronavirus pandemic as fuel for the boost in catalytic converter thefts.

A catalytic converter is made up of precious metals — thieves can scrap the metal in exchange for cash — and converts an engine’s emissions into more environmental-friendly gases to emit out of its exhaust. 

Watch now: Thieves target catalytic converters in Bloomington-Normal

The Pantagraph in June detailed how the wave of thefts has affected Central Illinois. At that time, Bloomington police had reported 21 thefts in 2021, up from 13 thefts in 2020, two in 2019, four in 2018 and two in 2017.

State Farm said California had the highest number of thefts, while Texas ranked second, having logged 445 in 2020 and 1,380 in the first half of 2021.

Contact Timothy Eggert at (309) 820-3276. Follow him on Twitter: @TimothyMEggert


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