Hamilton, Ontario — Hamilton Police have laid 68 charges connected to the recent theft of catalytic converters.
A catalytic converter is a key component to a vehicle’s exhaust system, it essentially reduces the emissions of toxic gases and pollutants. The attraction to the converters is due to their “high value metals that can easily be sold to scrap metal yards,” says Dave McDonald, president of Bodyline Auto Recyclers.
“Different vehicles have different grades of converters on them depending on how much they need to make the emissions clean. They can be from $80-$100, up to $500-$600 dollars for a converter depending on the application, depending on what kind of materials are inside of it.” McDonald says.
The thefts have been happening overnight at malls, educational facilities and other commercial areas where many other cars were parked. The thieves simply cut the converters out of large vehicles such as SUVs.
With the use of sophisticated power tools such as cordless sawzalls and cordless zip guns, McDonald says it wouldn’t take long to get a converter loose.
“If the guy has the right equipment, ten minutes would be plenty of time to do the whole deal.”
In response to the thefts, the Hamilton Police launched ‘Project Garfield,’ aimed at identifying and arresting suspects involved in the theft of catalytic converters. It also served to identify the business and residents that have been affected by the crimes. In the last two weeks police have made 27 arrests, laid 68 criminal charges and issued 45 provincial offence notices tied to thefts of converters.
Police suggest careful consideration as to where you park your vehicle as that may help to reduce the risk of having a valuable part stolen. It’s suggested you park in well-lit areas, closer to pedestrian or vehicle traffic as well as near video surveillance to help reduce the chance of theft.