OPP investigating rash of catalytic converter thefts

WELLINGTON COUNTY – Police are offering tips to help residents protect their vehicles following a rash of catalytic converter thefts over the last month.

Wellington County OPP officials say that since the end of March, the OPP has received several reports of stolen catalytic converters and diesel filters from vehicles.

The same story has played out across the country this year, due to very high prices for three precious metals contained in the exhaust emission control devices: rhodium, palladium and platinum.

Police say that on April 14, someone damaged 20 fleet vehicles at a business on the 4th Line in Erin by removing diesel catalytic converter and emission control parts.

On April 29 someone removed two catalytic converters from trucks at a business on the 1st Line near Arthur. In that incident a white SUV was observed leaving the area at the time of the theft, police say.

Wellington OPP officials have also had recent reports of other stolen catalytic converters in Centre Wellington, Guelph/Eramosa and Erin.

“Police want to remind the public that crime prevention is up to us all,” states a May 5 OPP press release.

Police are offering the following tips to help protect vehicles:

  • remove valuables from plain view (items that can’t be taken out of the vehicle can be secured in the trunk or other unseen locations in the vehicle)
  • lock your vehicle, day or night, and always secure your residence, including garage doors and outbuildings (also secure loose items including bicycles and equipment);
  • remember thieves are always looking for an easy target;
  • record and photograph the make, model and serial numbers of your items in case they are stolen;
  • report thefts to the police and provide the serial numbers (they can be helpful in locating/recovering the property);
  • if there is no serial number, creating unique marks or engravings on the item can be helpful when identifying your property;
  • use motion detectors, lights and vehicle alarms, which can be a deterrent to thieves;
  • conduct a walk around of your property to ensure all exterior lighting is working property (make necessary repairs);
  • complete repairs to damaged property including windows and fences (“show that you have pride in your property and care what happens to it”);
  • if you have a home security system, always use it (contact provider to ensure emergency contacts are up to date with current phone numbers);
  • be a good neighbour, share information and look out for each other’s property; and
  • be sure to report any suspicious activity or incidents to police immediately (the information may help to interrupt a potential crime, identify a crime trend/suspect, or prevent further crimes).

Anyone with information about thefts can call the OPP toll free at 1-888-310-1122 or online at www.opp.ca/reporting.

To remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or submit a tip online at www.csgw.tips. Tip providers may be eligible for a reward from Crime Stoppers of up to $2,000.

More information and tips can be located at www.opp.ca under the “Crime Prevention” section.