Waterloo Regional Police have issued a warning to area residents after seeing a rise in the number of catalytic converter theft reports over the first two months of this year.
“So from Jan. 1 to Feb. 12, we had 81,” Const. Ashley Dietrich told Global News about the total, which has quickly jumped to 131.
“I can say a majority of the incidents have occurred within Kitchener and Waterloo,” she explained.
“The reports have been made where thefts have occurred from apartment parking lots, auto repair shops and also within open parking lots.”
The problem is not limited to just Kitchener-Waterloo either as the thieves are targeting valuable metals found in the auto parts, which are a part of a vehicle’s emissions system, Located between the engine and muffler.
Dave McDonald, president of Bodyline Auto Recyclers in Hamilton, told Global News in October 2019 that catalytic converters have “high-value metals” — including palladium and rhodium — that can be easily sold to scrap metal yards.
Hamilton police also told Global News’ Lisa Polewski that the converters are easy for thieves to access, especially in larger style SUVs where they can be removed within minutes.
“The public is encouraged to remain vigilant and report suspicious activity or individuals to police immediately,” Dietrich said.
“When possible, motorists are encouraged to park their vehicles in garages or well at areas that are known to have security cameras.”
— With files from Global News’ Lisa Polewski