Catalytic converters continue to be the most stolen property, according to Winnipeg police.
In 2021, the converters replaced liquor as the most stolen property with at least 1,700 reported thefts – the trend is continuing into 2022.
However, the number has dropped somewhat this year with the total reported thefts being 1,552.
Police say this is because of efforts being made by WPS, Manitoba Justice and Crime Stoppers to help decrease the thefts.
The Winnipeg Police Service’s Property Crime Unit entered into a four-month investigation called Project Precious.
This project was named after the precious and lucrative metals found in the composition of a catalytic converter.
As a result, in June 2022, two adults associated with a Springfield scrap metal dealer were arrested and charged in relation to purchasing and selling stolen catalytic converters.
In July, WPS arrested four more individuals during a traffic stop after discovering stolen catalytic converters.
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On the heels of the project, Manitoba introduced a new bill requiring scrap metal dealers to follow strict regulations when buying and selling certain metal products.
Anyone wishing to sell such restricted items must provide government identification at the time of sale, and dealers are required to keep accurate and up-to-date records of transactions.
Additionally, police have the authority to conduct random checks at metal dealers and enforce the bill’s new requirements.
With funding made available from Criminal Property Forfeiture, Crime Stoppers launched an engraving initiative called “Save Your Cat.”
This allows vehicle owners to have their converter engraved with their vehicle’s serial number and painted with high visibility paint at auto service centres.
It protects the converter from theft as an engraved one will not be accepted at a scrap dealer since the enactment of the new provincial scrap metal act.