An RCMP Sergeant in Manitoba says the issue of catalytic converter thefts is not going away in this province. And, Paul Manaigre says it is because of very high metal prices that this continues to be a problem.
According to Manaigre, this has been a real issue in Manitoba for about the last year or so. As metal prices keep climbing, there is increased demand for thieves.
Manaigre says from what he is hearing, thieves, are able to trade these catalytic converters at scrap yards for a couple of hundred dollars. This ends up costing insurance companies anywhere from nearly $1,000, all the way up to $2,500 to replace.
"A lot of places won't take them, but I'm guessing there is a market somewhere for it," he says.
Manaigre says reputable scrap yards will not take them and right now RCMP are trying to get the message out there that by buying these units you are only feeding the habit. He notes it is much more helpful if they can gather whatever information is possible from the thief and provide those details to police.
For those thieves who know what they are doing, Manaigre says they can steal the part within a couple of minutes.
"If there is no one kind of watching, it just takes someone two minutes to reach underneath, make a couple of cuts and they are off with your product," he explains.
Manaigre notes this is not only an issue for vehicles parked on driveways, but also for those in parking lots or car dealerships.
"Anywhere where a vehicle is going to be stationary for a certain period of time," he explains. "I've heard of them going right in broad daylight in business parking lots during the daytime."
Manaigre urges the public to be on the lookout for anyone walking suspiciously around a vehicle. He notes what thieves will sometimes do is they will park next to the target vehicle and then pop the hood to make it look like they are having car troubles. In that way, it is not as suspicious when that thief walks around the vehicle or gets down on the ground. Then, when no one is looking, they crawl underneath and cut off the part they are looking for.
"I think the main thing is people need to be on the lookout for kind of suspicious behaviour," he says. "A lot of these reputable businesses are basically turning them away. They understand where it's coming from and they are trying to put an end to the market as well."