Mounties are warning the public about a serious spike in catalytic converter thefts in Coquitlam.
Catalytic converters sit under vehicles, toward the middle or back of the undercarriage, and reduce emissions. Typically, SUVs and trucks are targeted because they sit higher, providing easier access to the converters.
Generally speaking, they’re not what thieves look to pilfer from vehicles. The good stuff is generally locked inside. Still, opportunistic thieves looking to make a quick buck can remove the parts with relative ease and sell them to scrap metal dealers for anywhere from $50 to $250.
On average, Coquitlam RCMP dealt with about one catalytic converter theft a month between August and November. But during that same period in 2019, the number of reported thefts has risen sharply, Mounties said Wednesday in a news release.
“We’re seeing a big jump,” said Cpl. Michael McLaughlin. “It’s most acute between 2018 and 2019 where we’ve seen a 335 per cent increase in reported catalytic converter thefts year-to-date. Our investigators are working to get those numbers back down to their traditionally low levels, but we need the public to take precautions and be our eyes and ears.”
Mounties offered several tips to help catch thieves and hold onto your catalytic converters:
• Install good lighting and functional security cameras where you park your vehicles, and if possible, park them overnight in a locked garage or compound.
• Be alert for suspicious electrical tool noises and watch for people under cars, especially late at night or in isolated parking lots.
• Call 911 if you think you see a crime in progress, and report all catalytic converter theft (or attempted theft) to the police as soon as possible.
“Information from the public is key both for making immediate arrests and building crime activity maps,” said McLaughlin. “Security video can provide important evidence that connects one crime to another. Sometimes the smallest details can link and solve a series of crimes.”