File # 2020-15294
2020-06-11 08:14 PDT

North Vancouver RCMP have seen an increase in catalytic converter thefts in recent weeks, and are issuing both a warning to the public and a request for the community to watch for suspicious activity. Six thefts in the past two weeks across North Van have prompted the warning.

"What qualifies as suspicious?" asked Sgt. Peter DeVries of the North Vancouver RCMP. "Well, if it's 4:00 a.m., you hear a grinding noise on the street outside, you see a person under a car with a power tool, and there's a vehicle idling next to them, that's not your local house-call mechanic getting an early start on the day's work."

That's what one resident in central Lonsdale saw this morning around 4:30 a.m. "He did exactly what we’re asking everyone in the public to do when they see something suspicious," said DeVries. "Call 9-1-1 and tell us what you see." When a frontline officer arrived on the scene, the suspect quickly jumped into the vehicle and sped away at a high rate of speed. In compliance with Provincial law governing emergency vehicle operation, the officer did not give chase.

What is a catalytic converter anyway? And why would someone steal one?

As part of a car's exhaust system, a catalytic converter converts many of a vehicle's more harmful exhaust pollutants into less harmful emissions. Someone might steal one for its resale value, but more likely a thief will sell it to a recycling facility for the small amount of valuable metal it contains. A new catalytic converter costs between $100 and $200, but having one professionally installed will add hundreds of dollars to the bill.

Here are a few tips you can 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

"That said, we know not everyone can park in a secure garage, or even in a driveway," said DeVries. "The only choice for many people is to park on the street, and not everyone can park under a street lamp." That's why the police are asking the public to keep a watchful eye in their neighbourhoods, and to report anything that seems suspicious.

"Our biggest investigational asset is the community," said DeVries. "We understand it can be difficult to know what to report and what not to report. This simple rhyme might help you make that decision: 'If in doubt, just give us a shout; we're always home and we'll answer the phone'. If a thief knows the whole neighbourhood is watching and eager to call us, they’ll be more likely to move on."

Anyone who thinks they may have witnessed a catalytic converter theft, or who may have information about someone committing these thefts, is 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.

Released by

Sgt. Peter DeVries

Media Relations Officer
North Vancouver RCMP
nvan.rcmp-grc.gc.ca
147 East 14th St, North Van., BC, V7L 2N4
Office: 604-969-7561
Cell: 604-363-5584
Fax: 604-969-7587

Email: peter.devries@rcmp-grc.gc.ca


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