Catalytic converter thefts are on the rise across Vancouver Island, specifically in the Sidney area.
According to the Sidney/North Saanich RCMP, catalytic converter thefts have increased up and down the Island. Yet local Mounties have seen several vehicles targeted in its jurisdiction in the past few weeks alone.
“There has been, to the best of my knowledge, eight reported thefts in the last three weeks,” Cpl. Andres Sanchez told CHEK News.
“But in my review of local social media, I believe there may be further instances that have not been reported to police.”
Catalytic converters filter a vehicle’s exhaust using precious metals such as platinum, which Sanchez says makes them very lucrative to thieves.
“These thieves are removing them. They are actually cutting them away from the exhaust systems and reselling the precious metals,” he said.
According to ICBC, there were eight catalytic converter theft claims in Saanich in 2021, rising to 10 in 2022.
In Central Saanich, there were two theft claims in 2021, climbing to seven in 2022.
Sanchez says the unfortunate part of these thefts is that the value the thieves are getting from the stolen metal is much lower than the cost of the victim’s repairs or insurance claims.
Silvia Thistle Miller, owner of Triangle RV, told CHEK News she is out more than $2,000 after a catalytic converter was stolen from an RV at the dealership over the holidays.
She said that on Dec. 23, their video surveillance footage caught two men in a work truck stealing the converter from their rental vehicle at about 2 a.m.
“These guys know what they are doing. They make very clean cuts, you need a very specific saw to do that,” Miller said.
Sanchez agreed that these particular thieves were very proficient, taking only about one minute to get under the vehicle, cut the exhaust piping and remove the catalytic converter.
The rental RV was parked in front of the business, not in the fenced parking lot, and between two other vehicles.
Miller says vehicles get parked in the front for cleaning and maintenance, adding she believes this one was targeted because it was sheltered.
“Made it maybe a little easier. They could sort of get underneath fast and not be seen if anyone did come by,” she explained.
A new catalytic converter is costing Miller $2,000 for just the part, with installation costs still to come.
She says it also costs the business money, as the RV can’t be rented out until it is fixed.
“I can’t rent it. It’s now parked. It’s stationary,” Miller explained.
RCMP are currently investigating two suspects connected to the Triangle RV theft.
Sanchez says other thieves may be responsible for some of the incidents, adding that residents should report any kind of theft.
“Even if it’s not substantial,” he added. “We would like to know about it so we can ensure we have the proper precautions to make sure there’s not an upswing in these types of theft.”
Anyone with any information on any catalytic converter theft, or has any footage or pictures, is asked to call their local RCMP detachment.