Another spike in catalytic converter thefts, expanding beyond pickup trucks, is taking place in Richmond

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      Although a major increase in catalytic converter thefts from vehicles has been taking place across the Lower Mainland for several months, a recent spate last week has prompted Richmond RCMP to issue another warning.

      Richmond RCMP had previously announced an increase in August but in a December 5 news release, they stated that between November 24 and 30, they received eight reports of such incidents.

      Although pickup trucks from domestic manufacturers have been the primary focus of these thefts, Richmond RCMP stated that they have begun to receive reports of Honda (Element, CRV, and Odyssey), Acura (1.7EL), and Toyota (RAV4) vehicles also being targeted.

      Catalytic converters remove harmful particles from exhaust in a vehicle’s exhaust system, and some vehicles may have more than one.

      As they contain precious metals, they are expensive to replace, costly up to several thousand dollars. Thieves may steal them for resale or to recycle the metals.

      To remove these cylindrical devices, thieves may be using a powered saw or torch, creating sparks or flames when removal is underway.  

      After two vehicles were found on fire in Port Coquitlam in July, witnesses told Coquitlam RCMP that two suspects may have been trying to steal catalytic converters.

      Any suspicious activity, including suspicious individuals working beneath parked vehicles, should be reported immediately to Richmond RCMP, or your local police.

      Coquitlam RCMP stated in a November 20 news release that they have received 44 reports of these thefts between August and November this year (the average is four reports per year in that same time period).

      Although Delta, Vancouver, and Surrey police have arrested suspects in July and August, the thefts are continuing on.


      You can follow Craig Takeuchi on Twitter at @cinecraig or on Facebook