Police in Guelph and Waterloo Region say businesses in both areas were struck by thieves who were after catalytic converters from work vehicles.
Waterloo Regional Police say they received a call at 1:55 a.m. reporting that someone had broken into a business close to Ayr on Alps Road near Northumberland Road.
They say that officers were on scene within 10 minutes, and quickly established a perimeter around the scene.
The canine unit was brought in to search the area. While they did not find the suspect, they said they were able to locate missing catalytic converters as well as break-in tools.
Police said a thief cut a hole in the fence before removing the catalytic converters from nine vehicles. The catalytic converters were returned to the owner.
In Guelph, police say a business owner reported that thieves made off with catalytic converters from five work vehicles.
Guelph police say they were called to the business on Eramosa Road near Speedvale Avenue East at around 9 a.m.
Officers found a hole in the fence where the thief allegedly entered before cutting the auto parts off of the vehicles.
Waterloo police issued a warning in March after there were 131 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 earlier this month.
“I can say a majority of the incidents have occurred within Kitchener and Waterloo.”
“The reports have been made where thefts have occurred from apartment parking lots, auto repair shops and also within open parking lots.”
Guelph police say there have been at least 30 thefts since Christmas and estimate it costs around $1,200 to replace the part.
The problem is not limited to the area as thieves are stealing the catalytic convertors as they contain platinum and rhodium — precious metals whose value continues to skyrocket.
— with files from Global News’ Nick Logan