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Trail business targeted, catalytic converters stolen from 10 cars

Trail police say they are continuing to investigate the May 25 theft.
Catalytic converters contain valuable and rare materials such as platinum and rhodium, making them a target for theft. Photo: Mission RCMP

A Trail business is out a pretty penny after 10 catalytic converters were stolen overnight from vehicles parked outside their property located in the 8000-block of Waneta Road.

Depending on the size, condition and value of the metals inside, a catalytic converter can sell for anywhere between $150 and $200 a pop on the black market.

Typically, it can cost up to $2,000 to replace, depending on what’s missing and the damage caused by the thief.

Trail police say they are continuing to investigate the theft which took place on Wednesday, May 25.

What is a catalytic converter?

A catalytic converter is an essential part of a vehicle’s exhaust system, reducing the airborne pollutants. Catalytic converters are known to reduce about 90 per cent of harmful toxins and emissions that are expelled into the air, including carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides. It is a canister with two pipes connected to the exhaust, located underneath the vehicle, and accessible by lying beneath it.

Trail RCMP Sgt. Mike Wicentowich says, “You should notice that you are victim of this kind of theft, as your vehicle’s engine will give off a loud roaring noise.”

Notably, electric vehicles do not have catalytic converters.

Why are thieves targeting catalytic converters?

Ironically enough, it isn’t the catalytic converters themselves that are valuable, but the precious metals inside them that are. These types of valuable metals include palladium, rhodium and platinum. As the value of these precious metals have risen, so have the thefts. The intention, of course, is to sell them on the black market for a quick buck.

To prevent falling victim to this kind of theft, police advise: park in well-lit and well-travelled areas; keep your vehicle inside your garage; install a vehicle security system; install a catalytic converter anti-theft device; install a security system to monitor your vehicle.

Is a stolen catalytic converter covered by insurance?

If you have comprehensive coverage on your auto insurance policy, then you’re typically covered against catalytic converter theft, less deductible. Comprehensive coverage will typically pay to replace the stolen catalytic converter and repair any related damage from its removal.

ICBC facts

ICBC claims for catalytic converter thefts in B.C. have climbed from 89 in 2017 to 158 (2018), 602 (2019), 1,065 (2020) and 1,953 (2021). ICBC claim costs for catalytic converters during the same time increased from $351,000 in 2017 to over $4 million in 2021.

Sheri Regnier

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