The Kelowna RCMP is once again warning Central Okanagan residents about a rise in catalytic converter thefts in the area, after 78 thefts have been reported in the region since Jan. 1.
Local investigators are reaching out to the public, seeking any video surveillance footage of thieves going after vehicles' catalytic converter.
“As is often the case, our biggest investigational asset are vigilant community members,” said Const. Mike Della-Paolera of the Kelowna RCMP.
“Surveillance footage is an immensely helpful resource that we lean on for identifying suspects and their 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.”
Thieves have been stealing the equipment for years, due to the valuable metals they contain, including palladium, platinum and rhodium. Const. Della-Paolera says the thefts are a noisy process.
“If you find yourself waking up to the sound of power tools in the early hours of the morning and spot a suspicious person underneath a car, please don’t hesitate to call the police,” he says.
ICBC says claim costs for thefts of the devices jumped to more than $4 million in 2021, more than 11 times the claim amounts in 2017.
A year ago, the provincial government introduced an amendment to the Metal Dealers and Recyclers Regulation that regulates catalytic converters that are not attached to an exhaust system. It requires registered metal dealers to report each transaction, including information about the seller, to police on the day of sale.
The Kelowna RCMP recommends the following to help avoid thefts:
- 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