Date: Friday, January 13, 2023
Victoria, BC – Two men have been charged following a lengthy investigation into catalytic converter thefts in the Greater Victoria area.
In response to an increase in catalytic converter thefts, officers began an investigation into the theft and sale of stolen catalytic convertors in early 2022. After a lengthy investigation, two men were arrested and are awaiting trial for charges of trafficking in stolen property.
A stolen catalytic converter recovered during an investigation
A catalytic converter is a part of a motor vehicle exhaust system and contains a number of precious metals including platinum, palladium and rhodium. Converters can be cut out from the underside of a vehicle in less than two minutes typically using a saw-type of tool. Catalytic converter thefts have increased due an increase in the value of the precious metals they contain. Each catalytic converter sold for salvage can be worth between $200 and $2,000.
Catalytic converter theft can be a costly inconvenience – leaving motorists without the use of their vehicle. Motorists may also be required to pay a deductible to have their vehicle repaired. Vehicle owners who do not carry comprehensive theft coverage must pay the cost to have the stolen or damaged part replaced.
VicPD saw a significant increase in reports of catalytic converter thefts in 2021. The Insurance Corporation of B.C. (ICBC) reports that catalytic converter theft claims in B.C. rose from approximately $350,000 in 2017 to over $4 million in 2021. The total number of ICBC claims related to catalytic converters also increased over 2,000 percent in that same time period.
Reports of catalytic converter thefts increased significantly in 2021.
Catalytic converter thefts often happen at night under the cover of darkness as thieves target vehicles parked in secluded, poorly-lit areas. Some thefts occur from vehicles parked in residential driveways and on the street. If you see or hear suspicious activity please call the VicPD Report Desk at (250) 995-7654. If you believe someone may be actively stealing a catalytic converter, call 911. If you are the victim of a catalytic converter theft, and have no suspect information, please report the theft online at Report an Incident Online – VicPD.ca in addition to reporting it to ICBC or your third-party vehicle insurance provider.
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