Brazen catalytic converter theft caught on camera leaves B.C. resident with big bill

Click to play video: 'Catalytic converter thieves have become increasingly more brazen in their methods'
Catalytic converter thieves have become increasingly more brazen in their methods
WATCH: A video shows a rope being tied to the exhaust system and completely torn off the vehicle leaving a much more costly repair.The thief likely got around one thousand dollars for the catalytic converter but the replacement was more than double that. Automotive owners say it's an epidemic and there are damaged vehicles coming in every day – Apr 26, 2022

Another British Columbian has been the victim of a brazen catalytic converter theft caught on camera.

Divya Dias of Vancouver said the part was stolen from her Honda Accord this week.

Rather than sawing it off, however, the thief tied the entire exhaust system to their own vehicle, yanking the catalytic converter off with them in a brazen incident captured by a neighbour’s security camera.

“Most mechanic shops don’t direct bill to ICBC, so it has to come out of pocket,” Dias said of the ensuing repair bill of about $2,000. “It was a perfectly running vehicle before that.”

Dias said her neighbour’s catalytic converter was targeted as well, but the part was left behind.

Click to play video: 'Home security camera captures brazen theft of catalytic converter'
Home security camera captures brazen theft of catalytic converter

Catalytic converters are an exhaust emission control device made up of a variety of precious metals, including platinum, palladium and cadmium, that can be sold for up to a $1,000 to a scrap buyer.

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In March, the B.C. government required registered metal dealers to report each catalytic converter transaction, including information about the seller, to police on the day of sale, as thefts across the province soared.

The regulation change closed a loophole in the Metal Dealers and Recyclers Regulation by including converters that are not attached to an exhaust system.

Read more: ‘Super frustrating’: Catalytic converter stolen from B.C. charity’s truck for a second time

Since November 2020, the owner of John’s Mufflerman and Automotive Services in Burnaby, B.C., estimated he’s seen more than 200 vehicles come in for stolen catalytic converters.

John, who preferred to be identified by first name only, said he has also seen some exhaust systems ripped out to get the parts, as captured in the video of the theft on Dias’ car.

“From my understanding, on that vintage Honda, like all those Hondas, the scrap value is probably around $1,000,” he said.

Click to play video: 'Province cracking down on catalytic converter theft by bringing in more regulations'
Province cracking down on catalytic converter theft by bringing in more regulations

Vancouver Police Sgt. Steve Addison said when it comes to catalytic converter thefts in the city, officers have noted an “organized element” in many cases.

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“We do have networks of people that are working together,” he told Global News. “Specifically with this case, this is not something that we’ve seen … where somebody’s rolling up in a set of wheels, hooking up to the undercarriage of a car and driving away.”

Generally, he explained, Vancouver police encounter more instances of sawed off catalytic converters. The thefts are happening all over the Lower Mainland, he added.

 — with files from Global News’ Kamil Karamali


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