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Catalytic converter thefts expected to worsen, expert says

Click to play video: 'Experts warn of increasing catalytic converter thefts in New Brunswick'
Experts warn of increasing catalytic converter thefts in New Brunswick
WATCH: The widespread theft of catalytic converters is becoming a growing concern in New Brunswick. As Suzanne Lapointe reports, experts say the problem could get worse before it gets better – Mar 11, 2022

Moncton Headstart, a charitable organization helping low income families, was facing a repair bill of up to $2,500 after a catalytic converter was stolen from one of their buses earlier this month.

Executive Director Caroline Donnelle was dismayed to learn how frequent these thefts were when local businesses stepped in to offset the costs.

“It was just an amazing series of events that paid for the repair of this,” she said in an interview on Friday, explaining several businesses had provided their services for free, putting their bus back on the road almost immediately.

She said one of the companies that helped them told her this had happened to three of their trucks in the last year.

Read more: ‘Some of the highest prices’ for metals as New Brunswick sees more catalytic converter theft

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Steve Fletcher, managing director of the Automotive Recyclers of Canada, said in an interview that he wasn’t surprised to hear that.

“It is a global issue, mainly because those precious metals that are in catalytic converters are global commodities,” he said, adding that mounting sanctions against Russia, a major supplier of the world’s metal, are making catalytic converters and other auto parts even more valuable.

“Scrap vehicles, like a flattened hulk, a month ago it would have been dollars, today it’s worth three or four hundred dollars just in terms of the iron involved.”

He said a patchwork of loose regulations means scrapyards often don’t have enough rules in place to ensure the catalytic converters they buy were obtained legally.

“Once a (catalytic converter) is cut out of a vehicle, it’s really hard to figure out where did it come from, what even type of vehicle let alone which specific vehicle it was cut out of,” Fletcher said.

He is calling for tighter restrictions on purchasing auto parts.

In New Brunswick, the sale and purchase of scrap metal is regulated under the Salvage Dealers Licensing Act, administered by the Department of Justice and Public Safety.

Currently, licensed dealers must keep detailed records of all purchases, which can be inspected at any time.

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Read more: Nova Scotia police charge man in relation to 90 thefts of catalytic converters

Fletcher said New Brunswick’s legislation works differently than in most jurisdictions in North America.

“They’re is also a motor vehicle dealer license, so if you’re acquiring a vehicle for parts and materials you can be licensed that way. New Brunswick is completely unusual almost in having two licences that overlap and underlap.” he said, explaining his organization believes many are falling through the cracks as a result.

A representative for the department emailed Global News on Friday, saying, “The Department of Justice and Public Safety regularly reviews best practices and identifies opportunities for improvements in our legislation and regulations.

“Improving public safety is always a priority. New Brunswickers can help make their communities safer by reporting crime to police and by looking out for their friends and neighbours.”

Click to play video: 'With metal prices on the rise, thieves target catalytic converters'
With metal prices on the rise, thieves target catalytic converters

 

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