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

Just Posted

A thief or thieves broke into a kitchen at the grandstands at the Salmon Arm Fairgrounds recently, destroying a door apparently with the intention of stealing copper. (Martha Wickett-Salmon Arm Observer)
Man found sleeping amidst damage on Salmon Arm fairgrounds

Agricultural association dismayed by vandalism, thefts in kitchen, dance studio

Quinn, left, and Adrian Van de Mosselaer are going through UBCO’s nursing program together after Quinn encouraged his brother to go back to school. (UBC Okanagan/Contributed)
UBC Okanagan student transitions from professional hockey to nursing

Adrian Van de Mosselaer credits his younger brother for the push to get him back to learning

The first Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine dose in Canada is prepared at The Michener Institute in Toronto on Monday, Dec. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
One death, 39 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

There are 484 active cases of the virus in the region currently

Letter writer concerned there was a lack of notice by School District 83 regarding the May 12 board meeting on the district’s Long Range Facilities Plan. Discussion at the meeting is expected to focus on Salmon Arm schools, including the J.L. Jackson campus. (Google maps image)
Letter: Public provided little notice on Salmon Arm school facilities meeting

Writer questions what constitutes proper communication

School District 83 trustees host a special meeting on Wednesday, May 12, to once again discuss the district’s Long Range Facilities Plan. (File photo)
School trustees host special meeting to tackle Salmon Arm facilities

Afternoon online meeting planned for Wednesday, May 12

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains in the B.C. legislature, May 13, 2019. (Hansard TV)
VIDEO: B.C. to provide 3 days of sick pay for COVID-19 absences

Province will support employers on cost, labour minister says

The City of Vernon is taking a close look at six high-priority Okanagan Lake access points, including three sites along Tronson Road (pictured above) in May 2021. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Vernon council looking closely at Okanagan Lake access points

Six access points have been identified as ideal for recreation

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, April 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 rate creeps up again, 600 new cases Wednesday

One more death, 423 people in hospital with virus

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
Police working to identify the two bodies found in South Okanagan

The area will see higher police presence ahead of a forensic examination

B.C. Agriculture Minister Lana Popham takes questions in the B.C. legislature in 2017. (Hansard TV)
UPDATE: B.C. will fund another year of fresh fruit, vegetables, milk in schools

John Horgan government working on school meal program

A nurse prepares a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in Kelowna on Tuesday, March 16. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press Media file)
More than 40% of Central Okanagan residents have received 1st vaccine dose

Local clinics have administered 81,247 first doses to Central Okanagan residents

Surrey RCMP is releasing sketches of a suspect in an “indecent act” at the Coyote Creek Elementary playground on April 30, 2021. Police said the suspect was clean-shaven “during some interactions” and on “other occasions had stubble outlining a goatee and mustache.” (Images: Surrey RCMP handout)
Vancouver mayor-elect Kennedy Stewart addresses supporters in Vancouver on Sunday, Oct. 21, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver mayor says there’s no time to redo details of drug decriminalization plan

Kennedy Stewart says a federal election could see the small window of opportunity close on the city’s bid for an exemption from criminal provisions on simple possession of small amounts of drugs

Most Read