THIS past week has seen another rise in the number of catalytic converter thefts occurring across Delta, with 7 incidents reported to police on June 17 alone.
The thefts are taking place around Delta, though businesses are targeted more than residential areas. During June 17 police were called about:
* Reports of two catalytic converter thefts in Ladner on Progress Way.
* Two separate businesses reported thefts on Derwent Way in North Delta. One vehicle was a Ford van.
* Report of a catalytic converter stolen from an RV on Clivedon Place.
* 2 catalytic converters stolen from a Toyota Truck parked in front of a residence on 74A Avenue.
* A catalytic converter stolen from a vehicle on a driveway on 117 Street.
Earlier in the week, on June 11, one brazen mid-day theft occurred at the mall in Tsawwassen. In that instance, which was reported to police and shared to social media, a vehicle owner observed a man holding a battery operated “sawzall,” standing next to his truck.
“Not surprisingly, the vehicle owner thought the man with the saw looked suspicious,” said Cris Leykauf, spokesperson for Delta Police. “The man realized he was being watched, and went under the truck, apparently then slicing the bottom corner of the fuel tank, causing a fuel leak.”
Police officers, fire fighters and the vehicle owner used large evidence bags and captured approximately half of the fuel, as it was leaking from the truck. The rest of the fuel was stopped before it reached storm drains.
The suspect fled the scene in another vehicle.
Police say the theft of catalytic converters is an ongoing issue across the region, as the salvage price of metal contained in the exhaust emission control device is currently considered high, and can be turned around for a quick profit. They say they are aware that in some cases, individuals are also purchasing these sliced off catalytic converters for resale.
Although there are no scrap metal yards in Delta, police are interested in pursuing a regional approach to address this issue.
Patrols in the middle of the night in targeted industrial areas have been increased, but as the attempted theft at the mall indicates, thieves then turn to other techniques.
Vehicle owners can protect catalytic converters from being stolen by:
* Parking their vehicle in a garage or well-lit areas
* Parking in a secured lot with a security guard (within view of any security cameras)
* Reporting suspicious activity
Police also continue to recommend that commercial fleet operators and owners of RVs and large trucks have their catalytic converters etched with the vehicle licence plate.
Delta Police are encouraging motorists to speak with their mechanics during their next service and inquire if etching services can be provided. The District Liaison Officers have been speaking with local service shops who are in support of this initiative.