Police are warning residents to protect themselves against catalytic converter thieves amidst a spike in thefts this year.
From Jan. 1 to Nov. 1, 312 catalytic converters were stolen in the city, compared to 184 during the same time last year, according to a Burnaby RCMP news release.
Catalytic converter thefts are on the rise across the Lower Mainland because of the resale value of precious metals inside the anti-pollution devices, the release said.
“These thefts are concerning for the public and police,” Burnaby RCMP spokesperson Cpl. Mike Kalanj said.
It only takes a few minutes to steal a catalytic converter, and thieves can be brazen and easily go undetected, according to Kalanj.
To illustrate the point, Burnaby RCMP have released a 2019 video showing a suspect slide unnoticed under a commercial truck during the middle of the afternoon, remove the vehicle’s catalytic converter and drive away.
Vehicles of all makes and models are being targeted in Burnaby, according to the RCMP, and thieves often strike in the early morning hours in areas that are isolated or poorly-lit with no nearby video surveillance cameras.
Police are urging residents to watch out for suspicious activity in the community, including the use of saws, which create a loud grinding noise when in use.
Since thieves need to access the underside of a vehicle to steal a catalytic converter, police are also urging residents to report any suspicious activity involving vehicles.
To protect yourself from becoming a victim of catalytic converter theft:
- Avoid parking outside and park in a secure garage if possible.
- Choose a well-lit area or an area with a lot of people around if parking outside
- Consider installing a wire cage around your vehicle's catalytic converter.
“It only takes a few minutes to steal a catalytic converter, so every precaution you can take will reduce your chances of becoming a victim,” Kalanj said.
Police are urging anyone who has been victimized by a catalytic converter theft to contact Burnaby RCMP at 604-646-9999.If you witness suspicious activity or a crime in progress, call 911.