It happened shortly before 2 a.m. Monday, when officers in the area of Parkdale Avenue North and Barton Street East overheard the sound of power tools being used coming from a nearby parking lot.
They saw a man walking away from a group of cars with a bag of tools and arrested him without incident. They confirmed he had taken two catalytic converters from nearby cars.
Police determined that the man, a 32-year-old from Brampton, had been recently arrested for a similar offense.
He’s been charged with theft under $5,000, possession of stolen property under $5,000, possession of burglary tools and mischief under $5,000, and is scheduled to appear at John Sopinka Courthouse on Monday for a bail hearing.
There’s been a recent spike in catalytic converter thefts in the area, according to Hamilton police, with 31 converter thefts in January and 35 in December.
Dave McDonald, president of Bodyline Auto Recyclers, told Global News in October that catalytic converters have “high-value metals” — including palladium and rhodium — that can be easily sold to scrap metal yards.
Police also say the converters are easy for thieves to access, especially in larger style SUVs where they can be removed within minutes.
They urge motorists to park in well-lit areas, closer to pedestrian or vehicle traffic rather than isolated areas, or near video surveillance, in order to substantially reduce the chances of theft.