Since the beginning of this year, there have been 83 catalytic converter thefts reported to Edmonton police, and in recent weeks a certain kind of SUV has become the target.
Police are investigating a series of thefts from older-model Honda CR-Vs, with eight of these thefts happening citywide since mid-April.
Honda CR-V models built between 2003 and 2009 appear to be the primary targets.
EPS said northeast Edmonton, in particular, has been the hardest hit, with seven of the eight thefts happening between April 19 and April 30.
A catalytic converter is an emissions control part that makes gases and pollutants in exhaust less toxic before they leave the vehicle.
The converters, located on the underside of vehicles as part of the exhaust system, contain small amounts of valuable metals such as platinum, palladium and rhodium, which can be sold.
Police said commercial parking lots and residential areas are the most commonly targeted locations, and thieves appear to be active during daytime hours.
Catalytic converters can be removed from a vehicle by sawing through the piping, and trucks and SUVs are more at risk because they sit higher from the ground and are easier to get under.
“The perpetrators appear to be crawling under the vehicles to cut the catalytic converters out,” Edmonton police Sgt. Shelley Pinch said.
Earlier this year police in London, Ont., issued a similar warning for the same model and year range of Honda vehicle. Police there said if your converter is missing, you’ll notice a loud rumbling sound when you start your vehicle.
The warning from Edmonton police comes a few weeks after RCMP in the area also said theft of precious metal has gone up.
“When copper and other metal prices rise as a commodity, the RCMP sees an increase in thefts of copper wire and catalytic converts as criminals are selling the metals for an easy profit,” a news release from St. Albert RCMP said.
“Replacing a stolen catalytic converter can cost up to $2,000 per vehicle,” the Mounties added.
Between the beginning of January and mid-April in the Edmonton suburb of St. Albert, catalytic converters were stolen from four vehicles.
In recent months, Leduc and Morinville RCMP have also received reports of stolen catalytic converters.
While preventing the theft of catalytic converters can be challenging, EPS investigators are advising drivers to park in well-lit, highly visible locations with security cameras whenever possible, and report any suspicious activity in parking areas to police.
“Police are asking anyone who notices suspicious activity in parking areas, including individuals carrying power tools or loud noises consistent with the use of such tools, to contact police.”
Anyone who has information about this crime is asked to contact Edmonton police at 780-423-4567 or #377 from a mobile phone. Anonymous information can also be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or online.