Forget Catalytic Converters, Thieves Are Now Targeting EVs To Steal Charging Cables

Thieves steal charging cables from EVs 7 photos
Photo: Tesla | Edited
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Car thieves have become creative in search of new things to steal from our precious vehicles. EV owners are now targeted as thieves discover a new way of getting rich quickly by stealing charging cables. They are either sold as is or for scrap metal, considering they use expensive copper wiring.
As catalytic converter theft became a public nuisance in the past years, owners of electric vehicles considered themselves lucky that their cars didn't have such an expensive component. Of course, Li-ion batteries are even more costly, but stealing them is not easy. Still, EV owners underestimated thieves' creativity. They quickly adapt to find new things that are easy to steal and expensive enough to be worth the risk.

As the inflation bit following the pandemic and gas prices soared, there was an epidemic of gas theft. Thieves would drill a hole in the car's tank and empty it, as it was easy. At more than $7 a gallon, it was attractive enough not to care about consequences. More sophisticated criminals discovered how to hack gas pumps to dispense fuel for free. It's safe to assume that once something becomes expensive enough, it will be on some individuals' "shopping lists."

Although electric vehicles don't have gas tanks to siphon or catalytic converters to cut, it doesn't mean there's nothing to loot. Judging by the increased number of police reports, thieves discovered something valuable and easy to steal: charging cables. It might look like being left without a charging cable is better than with a crippled vehicle. Still, the end result is the same: you need to pay a lot of money to return things to where they were.

We've previously seen that criminals don't have a problem cutting charging cables at Supercharger stations, but that takes planning and work. Stealing the cables from the cars charged at home is much easier. It only takes seconds to unplug, and the precious cord is gone. Replacing it can be costly, and you have no guarantee it won't happen again.

There are more than 1 million electric vehicles in California alone, and the cables used to charge them have become a hot commodity. People across Southern California post countless videos on neighborhood apps like Nextdoor showing thieves stealing charging cables in seconds. The reports have become more widespread in the past months. Many say they have driven electric vehicles for years but never had any problem with thieves. Now, it's an epidemic.

Owners of electric vehicles are advised to secure their outdoor wall sockets if they charge in their driveway. Ideally, they should charge their EVs in a locked garage if possible. If not, it's best to do it away from the street view. Still, as thieves learn that every electric vehicle comes with a portable charger, they will try to steal it wherever they can, from shopping malls to parking lots and even charging stations.
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About the author: Cristian Agatie
Cristian Agatie profile photo

After his childhood dream of becoming a "tractor operator" didn't pan out, Cristian turned to journalism, first in print and later moving to online media. His top interests are electric vehicles and new energy solutions.
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