Burnaby RCMP is actively working to tackle an ongoing rise in catalytic converter thefts.

There were 312 catalytic converter thefts reported in Burnaby from January 1 to November 1, 2021. This is an increase from 2020, which saw 184 catalytic converter thefts in the same period.

Catalytic converter thefts are on the rise in many areas of the Lower Mainland due to the resale value of the metals they contain.

These thefts are concerning for the public and police, said Cpl. Mike Kalanj with Burnaby RCMP. While Burnaby isn’t alone in seeing an increase, we want residents to know we are actively targeting these crimes.

Catalytic converter thefts are a priority issue for Burnaby RCMP’s Prolific Offender Suppression Team (POST), which is working to curb this trend in Burnaby.

It’s believed many of the criminals involved in catalytic converter theft are repeat offenders.

Burnaby RCMP’s Prolific Offender Suppression Team has been working closely with our crime analysts and partner agencies to identify and target these criminals, Kalanj said. While we cannot provide specific details about the methods being used, we want the public to know our teams are employing various investigative techniques to combat this crime trend.

In Burnaby, vehicles of all makes and models are targeted by thieves, with the thefts often happening in the early morning hours in areas that are isolated or poorly-lit with no nearby video surveillance cameras.

Try the following to protect yourself from becoming a victim of catalytic converter theft:

  • If you can, avoid parking outside and park your vehicle in a secure garage.
  • If you are parking outside, choose a well-lit area or an area with a lot of people around.
  • Wire cages can also be installed around catalytic converters, which may be effective in protecting your vehicle.

“It only takes a few minutes to steal a catalytic converter, so every precaution you can take will reduce your chances of becoming a victim,” Kalanj said.

Not only is this type of theft quick, but thieves can also be brazen and easily go undetected.

Video from a 2019 theft in Burnaby shows a suspect slide under a commercial truck during the middle of the afternoon, going unnoticed as he removes the truck’s catalytic converter and drives away.

Thieves stealing catalytic converters often use cordless reciprocating saws to carry out these crimes.

Please keep an eye out for any suspicious activity, including the use of these saws, which create a loud grinding noise when in use. Thieves need to access the underside of a vehicle for these thefts. If you see suspicious activity involving vehicles, please call us, Kalanj said.

Burnaby RCMP urges anyone who has been victimized by a catalytic converter theft to contact non-emergency at 604-646-9999. If you witness suspicious activity or a crime in progress call 911.


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