LUBBOCK, Texas – There has been a surge in catalytic converter thefts across the nation, and Texas Tech’s campus has become a hot spot for thieves. 

Tan Nguyen, a Red Raider graduate student noticed his was missing Thursday, and with this on top of finals and grading homework as a graduate assistant, the added stress this brings is exactly what he doesn’t need.

He noticed his catalytic converter was missing when he tried to start his Toyota 4Runner and it sounded like a motorcycle revving up. He then looked under his car where he said he found bolts and screws on the ground. 

He then filed a police report with law enforcement on campus. 

“The police officers told me it happened five times already, but nothing was ever recovered or done. So he said now it’s just filing a claim with your insurance company,” Nguyen explained. 

Because he studies chemistry, Nguyen knows the value these car parts have to thieves. 

“A catalytic converter converts carbon monoxide and unburned fuel to less harmful chemicals such as carbon dioxide and rhodium. Palladium and platinum are precious metals, especially rhodium. They’re very hard to come by, that’s why they go after catalytic converters,” he said.

He said he’s very careful with his car and always parks away from others to avoid it being scratched. Now, he suggests to others parking on campus to actually stay near to cars and park where there may be cameras and lights. 

Texas Tech Police have suggested in the past to take extra precautions and depending on where one parks, there may be cameras in range.