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North Van RCMP warn of ‘dramatic increase’ in catalytic converter thefts

Neighbourhoods east of Seymour have primarily been targeted
A vehicle's catalytic converter sits after being . | Victoria Police Department

Cat burglars are on the prowl again in North Vancouver.

North Vancouver RCMP are warning the public about what they’re describing as a dramatic increase in catalytic converter thefts. Neighbourhoods east of the Seymour River have been primarily targeted.

Hondas, Fords and Toyotas are among the vehicles most frequently chosen to be relieved of their catalytic converters by thieves, said Const. Mansoor Sahak, spokesperson for the North Vancouver RCMP.

North Vancouver RCMP are appealing to anyone in the Seymour neighbourhood who may have recorded video surveillance of any “cat” burglars to contact police immediately.

“As is often the case, our biggest investigational asset are vigilant community members,” said Sahak. “Surveillance footage is an immensely helpful resource that we lean on for identifying suspects and the patterns that can lead to an arrest. If a thief knows they’re being recorded and the whole neighbourhood is on the lookout, they’ll be more likely to change their plans.”

A catalytic converter is part of a vehicle’s exhaust system that converts harmful exhaust pollutants into less harmful emissions. But the parts are also appealing to thieves, because of the small amounts of valuable metals the catalytic converters contain, making them a valuable commodity for resale to recycling facilities.

A new catalytic converter costs between $100 and $200, but having one professionally installed can cost hundreds of dollars more.

“With the right tools and technical knowledge, a catalytic converter can be removed quickly – 30 seconds flat in some cases,” said Sahak. “However, this is a noisy process. If you find yourself waking to the sound of power tools at an ungodly hour and spot a suspicious person underneath a car, please don’t hesitate to give us a call.”

Sahak said it’s not necessarily the same thief hitting vehicles each time.

“There’s lots of people out there that do this,” he said. “It’s not just a North Van issue.”

Here are a few tips police advise you to follow to prevent theft of your catalytic converter:

  • Park in your home garage, if possible
  • Use motion sensing exterior house lights if you park in your driveway
  • Park in a well-lit area
  • Keep a watchful eye in your neighbourhood and report anything that seems suspicious

Anyone who thinks they may have witnessed, have surveillance footage or information about these catalytic converter thefts are asked to call the North Vancouver RCMP at 604-985-1311, or Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, online or via mobile phone app. Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers will pay a reward of up to $2,000 for information leading to the arrest of a criminal or recovery of stolen property.