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North Vancouver RCMP arrest 3 suspects stealing catalytic converters

Thefts of the devices have spiked since the pandemic hit, police say
A stolen catalytic converter. | Victoria Police Department

Police are thanking a sharp-eyed citizen, who put in a call that led to the arrest of three people who were stealing catalytic converters.

The call came in at around 1 a.m. Wednesday morning, according to North Vancouver RCMP, after the citizen saw three people under a car in the residential area near Grand Boulevard.

Officers were dispatched to the area, where they arrested two male suspects and one female suspect in their 30s, said Const. Mansoor Sahak, adding that none of the individuals live in the community.

Sahak said that the trio were using a saw to cut out the converter, and had already hit several cars nearby.

Police are recommending charges of mischief and theft under $5,000, Sahak said.

“Lots of people are out there doing this – it’s not just a small group,” he said.

Catalytic converter thefts have spiked since the pandemic hit, which has been observed in other jurisdictions as well, Sahak added.

The converters – which turn exhaust pollutants into less harmful emissions – are sought-after for the small amounts of precious metals inside. As prices for these metals have risen, so have converter thefts.

“There's been a huge spike because of the minerals,” Sahak said. “People are willing to pay top dollar for it.”

To prevent your catalytic converter from being stolen, police recommend parking in a home garage, if possible, using motion sensor lights if you park in your driveway, or parking in a well-lit area.