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Okanagan resident creates device to prevent catalytic converter thefts

Click to play video: 'Okanagan resident creates device to prevent catalytic converter thefts'
Okanagan resident creates device to prevent catalytic converter thefts
WATCH: After seeing how many people have been affected by catalytic converter thefts, and just how bad the problem has become, an Okanagan man got to work, creating a device that should prevent that very crime. Victoria Femia reports. – Jun 18, 2023

After seeing how many people have been affected by catalytic converter thefts, and just how bad the problem has become, an Okanagan man got to work, creating a device that should prevent that very crime.

He’s called it the Converter Defender.

Lake Country resident Rod Newlove is hoping that his new device will help lower the number of catalytic converter thefts. The idea is to arm the vehicle with another alarm that detects any touch or vibration when the ignition is turned off.

“The device is in test mode for the first three minutes after the ignition has been turned off. The one chirp indicates the alarm is active and after three minutes it will be fully active,” said Newlove.

“Any movement at all on the exhaust system, the alarm will sound for two minutes.”

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Click to play video: 'Catalytic converter theft in Penticton'
Catalytic converter theft in Penticton

If you’re trying to steal a catalytic converter armed with one of these devices, you’ll be met with a loud noise right away. After the alarm ends, it will not sound unless it detects motion again.

According to Kelowna RCMP, catalytic converters are currently a hot commodity among thieves and are hard to track once stolen.

“It’s increasing all across B.C. and Canada. There’s a metal in the catalytic converter that apparently is very valuable and they’re stealing it because it’s an easy thing to steal. Once they steal it, we don’t know where it’s going,” said Const. Mike Della-Paolera with the Kelowna RCMP.

The goal of the product is to draw attention to the vehicle and what the thieves are doing, making them less likely to target your vehicle and spook the suspect.

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“They’re going to split, I don’t think anyone is going to stick around when the alarm is blaring,” Newlove said.

The Converter Defender is being manufactured in Lake Country, retails for $249.95 and is already being sold in Alberta. Although no store in Kelowna has picked it up yet, Newlove is hoping to see it on shelves in the Okanagan soon.

Click to play video: 'Catalytic converter thefts on the rise in the Okanagan'
Catalytic converter thefts on the rise in the Okanagan

According to its inventor, installing the device is simple.

“It’s a do-it-yourself — you can do it in the driveway, probably half an hour depending on your skill level or you can take it to the shop if you’re more comfortable doing it that way,” said Newlove.

Newlove spent the last two years perfecting the product and got the idea for it after seeing the problem increase across the city.

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“We started looking at different options to try to fix this and we went through probably four different prototypes before we came up with the final version,” he said.

The device is currently for sale on the Converter Defender’s website.

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