We've all been hearing about it for quite awhile. Thieves are stealing catalytic converters all over the state and it seems few are safe.

Just last month, feds busted a more than half billion dollar theft ring. New laws are being proposed in Trenton to try to stop the crime, including scrap yards being required to see vehicle ownership proof.

Thieves don't want the catalytic converters themselves. They want the precious metals that are inside them. Small amounts of palladium, platinum or rhodium can be worth big bucks when you scrap it.

At a scrap yard the amount you can get from one catalytic converter can garner between $300 to $1,500.

And, thieves can quickly gut beneath your car and just saw them right off.

We've taken calls from people who were victims of this and they report seeing the thieves in their driveways in the process of removing them who get away with the catalytic converter by the time the car owner makes it out the door. They're that fast.

So beyond the crime, what does this mysterious car part beneath your car that most people never see even do?

It reduces harmful emissions by filtering out dangerous byproducts in the exhaust gases and burns them away. You won't pass inspection without one. And your car runs unbelievably loud without one.

In looking up theft statistics I fell upon a cool video of a guy who made a crude see through catalytic converter so you could actually see what takes place inside this contraption as it does its jobs.

Take a look inside this expensive car part as it works.

The real experiment starts at about 2 1/2 minutes in but a real gearhead will want to watch from the beginning to see him actually building this see through catalytic converter.

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Jeff Deminski only.

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