A man steals a catalytic converter from a vehicle in Campbell River on Aug. 27. RCMP Photo.

A man steals a catalytic converter from a vehicle in Campbell River on Aug. 27. RCMP Photo.

Campbell River RCMP warning of spike in catalytic converter thefts

Four catalytic converters stolen from vehicles over four days

Campbell River RCMP are warning the public about a series of four catalytic converter thefts from vehicles that were reported recently.

Catalytic converters, a component of vehicle exhaust systems, cost between $400 and $3,000 and contain precious metals, such as palladium and platinum that are of value to metal dealers. As such, they are often the target of thieves who access the part from the underside of vehicles.

Catalytic converter theft has increased throughout the country recently, according to RCMP. Within British Columbia, the number of catalytic converter claims has increased from 146 in 2015 to 1,546 in 2020.

A surveillance system captured video one of three thefts that took place on the evening of Aug. 27. In the footage, two individuals were shown working together, with one acting as lookout while a man rolled quickly under a vehicle with a battery-operated grinder. In under two minutes, the vehicle’s catalytic converter was taken.

“Protecting yourself from these kinds of thefts is a difficult proposition,” said Campbell River RCMP Const. Maury Tyre, in a media release. “There are, however, some things people can do to reduce the risk of theft. Park in well lit areas, park in the range of video cameras, and you can etch your licence plate number on the item, which could help police ID a thief.”

If you see someone at night walking around with tools or carrying a catalytic converter, police are asking that you call 250-286-6221 immediately.

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