New Brunswick’s Saint John Police Force say they have seized hundreds of catalytic converters that were set to leave the province on Wednesday.
Catalytic converters are part of a vehicle’s exhaust system. Their purpose is to make car exhaust from internal combustion engines less toxic.
But the metals inside — especially platinum and rhodium — are worth the chance for some thieves.
“Catalytic converters, given the price and some of the hardware that’s inside of the devices, there’s a tremendous market for them,” said Jim Hennessy, a spokesperson for the force.
In a release, police said the value of the converters is estimated to be close to $750,000.
Hennessy declined to say where the catalytic converters were seized, but noted they were all at one location and “were bound for a destination outside of New Brunswick.”
“Arrests and charges are anticipated,” police say in a statement.
Two work vehicles belonging to Roy Chase, a local small business owner, have been hit by thieves twice in the past six weeks.
He says the repairs cost him nearly $1,300, but factoring in lost productivity and wages for an employee who was unable to work, the thefts cost the business about $1,800.
So now they’re making changes to help prevent future incidents.
“Some of our staff are taking vehicles home now,” Chase told Global News. “And we’re going to install lights and cameras, and just other measures we can take.”
This is the latest report following a string of thefts from vehicles across the southern part of the province that were reported in February.
“We realize that this has been a massive problem, not only in Saint John, but around New Brunswick as well,” Hennessy said.
Global news also reported in March that there has been a surge in catalytic converter thefts right across the country due to the precious metals found in converters.
Since December of 2020, the Saint John Police Force said it has received more than 50 reports of stolen catalytic converters from vehicles.
Police are warning people to park in secure areas, such as places that are well-lit or even in garages, if possible.
Chase has a warning for the public.
“Everybody, just watch each other’s property,” he says. “It doesn’t hurt to be nosy right now.”
-With files from Nick Logan and Callum Smith