An Oscar Mayer Wienermobile was the latest victim of catalytic converter theft when it was targeted by thieves over Super Bowl weekend. The 27-foot-long, hot-dog-shaped vehicle was in Las Vegas offering photo opportunities and vehicle tours at the time of the incident.
The corporate office of the Sonesta Suites hotel said the Wienermobile was parked in its parking lot when its catalytic converter — a valuable part of a vehicle’s emissions exhaust system containing precious metals — was stolen in the early hours. The emission-regulating devices can be sold for up to $150 per converter.
The following day, the vehicle was towed to Penske Truck Rental at West Hacienda Avenue to get a temporary catalytic converter installed. The iconic hot dog on wheels was then able to make its next scheduled appearance, driven by Corn Dog Clara and co-pilot “Chad”dar Cheese.
According to the company, Oscar Mayer’s “meat fleet” includes six Wienermobiles that regularly tour the country.
Joseph Rodriguez, who works as a parts admin at the Penske shop, explained his reaction to seeing the vehicle pull up. “A hot dog truck, no way,” he told KLAS. “Imagine like a huge hot dog in the middle of your bay. There’s all these other trucks and you got to work on this.”
The Wienermobile will likely have to wait a month or two to get a precise replacement that will fit.
“It’s a huge problem,” Rodriguez said of the catalytic converter thefts. “It’s been going on for a couple of years now. Last summer especially, it was like two to three months to get one.”
Replacing the catalytic converter can also be a time-consuming task. “There’s gaskets there that you need to reseal the converter, and then there’s sensors all along that area to regulate the heat and temperature of the system,” he said. “Those are all gone as well. They tear that apart to get to what they want.”
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said it did not receive a report of a theft involving the Wienermobile. But more than 2,600 catalytic converter thefts were reported to the agency in 2022, marking a 72% increase from the previous year. In November last year, the FBI arrested two men in Las Vegas on charges of conspiracy to commit interstate transportation of stolen property by reselling 71 of the devices.