Gord Nelson holds up a catalytic converter at the Nelson Garage in Montreal Friday Jan.18, 2008. Converter thefts have increased dramatically as the price of platinum has skyrocketed with thieves getting upwards of $50 from unsrcupulous scrap metal dealers.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

Gord Nelson holds up a catalytic converter at the Nelson Garage in Montreal Friday Jan.18, 2008. Converter thefts have increased dramatically as the price of platinum has skyrocketed with thieves getting upwards of $50 from unsrcupulous scrap metal dealers.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

6 catalytic converters stolen in Vernon in 3 weeks

Insurance Bureau of Canada’s investigative services national director says there are ways to protect yours

Six catalytic converters have been reported stolen in Vernon in less than three weeks, police said Thursday.

“Suffice to say, this is an increase in this type of theft and it is an issue we are aware of,” Vernon North Okanagan RCMP media officer Const. Tania Finn said April 29.

In January, the Kelowna Boys and Girls Club was hit thrice by “cat thieves,” and all three times the vehicle was parked out front of the non-profit’s building.

The six reports of “cat thieves” in Vernon between April 8th and 26th isn’t all that surprising, according to Bryan Gast, the national director of the investigative services division of the Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC).

“The theft of these catalytic converters isn’t new,” he said. “What is new is that the prices of the precious metals have gone up significantly.”

READ MORE: 3 catalytic converters stolen from Okanagan Boys and Girls Clubs vehicles

The exhaust emission control device, which reduces toxic gases and pollutants from the exhaust by converting it into something less potent through an oxidation and reduction reaction, is comprised of precious metals: rhodium, palladium and platinum.

The value of these metals has skyrocketed over the past five years. For instance, rhodium used to sell for around $640 an ounce in 2016 to more than $20,000.

“It’s worth more than gold,” Gast said — about 10 times as much.

But the people stealing them aren’t earning that. Gast said a catalytic converter would likely only go for a few hundred dollars at a scrapyard.

Part of the issue is that there is nothing in place that identifies the part as stolen such as a registration or tracking number, but that’s something the IBC is working on, Gast said.

Catalytic converter thefts are covered under comprehensive insurance, and the average claim amount for a converter theft in 2020 was $2,117. ICBC has received approximately 1,025 such claims throughout B.C. from 2020, according to data from March 2021.

In the meantime, Gast said it’s important to educate vehicle owners that this is an ongoing issue from coast-to-coast Canadawide and in the United States.

“These aren’t just happening in driveways,” Gast said. “This is happening in community parking lots and at car dealerships.”

But there are extra measures vehicle owners can take to better protect their assets.

“Park in the garage,” Gast said, for those who are able to. “If you can’t, make sure to park in a well-lit area. And, if you see anything suspicious, call law enforcement.”

Some motorists are even going as far as installing shields, Gast said, which could deter possible thefts.

This type of crime, however, is not without risk and Gast said some cases resulted in tragedy.

A Burnaby man was found dead under a car only last month, according to a police report.

Police said the victim was believed to have been committing a property crime offence when the jack he had used to hoist the car gave way and crushed him. Police were unable to confirm the specifics of the offence.

READ MORE: Lack of rain dries up Lake Country water supply

READ MORE: Vernon’s boho boutique crowned Enterprize Challenge champion


@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

RCMP

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

John Pavelich’s 83rd birthday had an added surprise; members of Enderby City Council came by his residence to present him with a Lifetime Civic Merit award Saturday, May 8, 2021. (Contributed)
Enderby resident unwraps Lifetime Civic Merit award on 83rd birthday

John ‘JP’ Pavelich has been a pillar of volunteerism in Enderby since 1967

Nuns of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, carry some of her relics during a vigil of prayer in preparation for the canonization of Mother Teresa in the St. John in Latheran Basilica at the Vatican, Friday, Sept. 2, 2016. In which city did she do much of her charitable work? (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)
QUIZ: How much do you know about these motherhood issues?

In honour of Mother’s Day, take this 10-question quiz

Five properties have been added to the Lake Country fire protection zone, after council moved to expand the local service area Tuesday, May 4, 2021. (Google Maps)
Lake Country expands fire protection zone, covering 5 exposed properties

The properties petitioned to join the local service area after being left out ‘for reasons unknown’

The Vernon Vipers defeated the Salmon Arm Silverbacks 3-1 to secure the top spot in the BC Hockey League Vernon pod Friday, May 7, 2021. (Lisa Mazurek Photography)
VIDEO: Vipers beat Salmon Arm, clinch top spot in BCHL Vernon pod

Goaltender James Porter Jr. was a wall for the Vipers, who outscored the Silverbacks 3-1 Friday

VSAR’s Air Rescue One unit assisted in a rescue in West Kelowna May 3, 2021. (VSAR screenshot)
VIDEO: VSAR’s Air Rescue One team assists in West Kelowna Rescue

The Vernon Search and Rescue helicopter team pulled off a successful rescue Monday

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

The body of Brenda Ware, 35, was found along Highway 93 in Kootenay National Park on Thursday, May 6, 2021. (RCMP handout)
RCMP ask for tips after woman’s body found in Kootenay National Park

Brenda Ware was found along Highway 93 in the park, 54 kilometres north of the town of Radium

People pass the red hearts on the COVID-19 Memorial Wall mourning those who have died, opposite the Houses of Parliament on the Embankment in London, Wednesday, April 7, 2021. On May 3, the British government announced that only one person had died of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Kirsty Wigglesworth
For a view of a COVID-19 future, Canadians should look across the pond

Britain, like Canada, is one of the only countries in the world to delay second doses for several months

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

Peachland resident and cleanup volunteer Lloyd Stinson Sotas holds up a discarded TV riddled with bullet holes. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
PHOTOS: Peachland residents clean up community watershed

More than 70 people gave back to Mother Earth by assisting with the cleanup

A map showing where the most number of cases were recorded from April 23 to 29. This map, revealing a breakdown of infections by neighborhood, was pulled from a data package leaked to the Vancouver Sun last week (and independently verified).
36 Abbotsford schools flagged for COVID-19 exposures in the last 2 weeks, shattering record

Clearbrook Elementary recorded an ‘exposure’ on all 11 school days

Canada’s chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Post-inoculation, Theresa Tam says the risk of asymptomatic infection and transmission is far lower but not obsolete

Most Read