RCMP: If you think you hear a “cat-con” theft in progress, call 911

NORTH Vancouver RCMP are reminding the public to contact police if they think they may be witnessing the theft of a catalytic converter, especially if they see or hear anything suspicious in their neighbourhood at night.

“The sound will be unmistakable,” said Sgt. Peter DeVries. “If you hear a grinding noise, or what sounds like an electric saw, on the street outside your house at 4 a.m., it’s not a 24-hour muffler repair shop. But it might be a cat-con thief.

“We’re asking everyone in the public to call 9-1-1 when you see or hear something suspicious.”

As part of a car’s exhaust system, a catalytic converter converts many of a vehicle’s more harmful exhaust pollutants into less harmful emissions. Someone might steal one for its resale value, but more likely a thief will sell it to a recycling facility for the small amount of valuable metal it contains. Replacing a catalytic converter, however, costs much more. Including installation by a mechanic, the cost can be $2,000 or more.

Here are a few tips you can follow to prevent theft of your catalytic converter:

* Park in your home garage, if possible
* Use motion sensing exterior house lights if you park in your driveway
* Park in a well-lit area
“Not everyone has a secure garage, or even a driveway,” said DeVries. “For many, the only choice is to park on the street. That’s why we’re asking the public to keep a watchful eye in their neighbourhood, and to report anything that seems suspicious.”

Anyone who thinks they may have witnessed a catalytic converter theft, or who may have information about someone committing these thefts, is asked to call the North Vancouver RCMP at (604) 985-1311, or Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, online or via mobile phone app.

Metro Vancouver Crime Stoppers will pay a reward of up to $2,000 for information leading to the arrest of a criminal or recovery of stolen property.