Edmonton, Alberta – Thieves continue to target vehicles across the city for their catalytic converters, leaving citizens and their insurance companies holding the bill for expensive mechanical repairs often totalling thousands of dollars.
“The theft of catalytic converters continues to be an ongoing issue across our city,” says EPS Det. Daniel Leach. “It’s a crime of opportunity, and one that isn’t easy for citizens to protect themselves against.”
In 2020, a total of 1,626 thefts of the exhaust emission control devices were reported to the Edmonton Police Service. With 1,701 incidents reported to police through the first three quarters of 2021 (up to and including Aug. 31st), catalytic converter thefts have already surpassed 2020 numbers, Leach says.
“Your vehicle can be a target for thieves almost anywhere you park,” says Det. Leach. “Thieves are often stealing the converters and exchanging them to ‘middle men’ for drugs or money. The precious metals found inside catalytic converters are valuable to scrap metal dealers and recyclers.”
In November, 2020, provisions of the Protecting Alberta Industry from Theft Act were implemented in an attempt to make it more difficult for criminals to sell stolen metal for scrap.
As a result, all scrap metal dealers and recyclers must now:
report transactions involving certain common forms of metal – including high-theft items like copper wire and catalytic converters – to law enforcement through a central database
make payments for these transactions only with traceable forms of currency (cash not allowed)
While still in its first year, EPS and other policing agencies across the province are hopeful the new provincial legislation will help to curb the sale of stolen cat converters over time, says Leach.
“The vehicle exhaust repairs associated with replacing catalytic converters are costing Edmonton citizens and insurance companies millions of dollars every year,” explained Det. Leach.
Steps to protect yourself against catalytic converter theft
When possible, avoid parking your vehicle in a place where thieves can discreetly crawl underneath and remove the converter. An experienced thief needs only 5-10 minutes to cut off and steal a converter.
Engrave it with your VIN # (vehicle identification number) so it’s easier to identify as stolen property.
Have the converter welded to your vehicle making it difficult to remove.
Spend a few hundred dollars for a special clamp or cage that will make removal far more difficult, discouraging a thief.
Invest in a car alarm that is sensitive to the vibration of a catalytic converter being sawed off.
Edmonton Police Service
MRU #: 21R077
“Dedicated to Protect, Proud to Serve”
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