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

Owner Daren McWhinney is really excited about the new location of Angry Vegan which just opened up at 536 Main Street. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton’s Main Street turns into foodie heaven

Angry Vegan, Wild Ginger, Twisted Chopsticks and Gratify recently opened

Four golfers from Fairview Mountain Golf Club in Oliver will golf from sunrise to sunset to raise funds for ALS on June 29. (Submitted)
Golfing from sunrise to sunset in Oliver for ALS

Four golfers from Fairview Mountain Golf Club have taken up the challenge June 29

The Journey, an art exhibit by Pauline Hurley, was on display at the Summerland Ats Centre earlier this spring. Beginning June 15, the Summerland Community Arts Council will present Spark, a 10-week community arts challenge. (Summerland Review file photo)
Challenge to spark creativity among Summerland artists

Spark challenge will begin June 15 and will run 10 weeks

A storm watch has been issued for the Okanagan, Kootenays and Columbia regions of B.C. (Calvin Dickson photo)
Another severe thunderstorm watch issued for the Okanagan

Conditions are favourable for thunderstorms that may produce strong wind gusts, hail and heavy rain

The South Okanagan Tim Hortons raised over $4,000 through the three day orange doughnut promotion with 100 per cent of proceeds going to to the Residential School Survivors Society. The owner of these locations matched the amount. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
South Okanagan Tim Hortons raises over $8K for residential school survivors

More than $4,000 worth of doughnuts were purchased over three days

Singer-songwriter Jann Arden is pictured with a draft horse. (Canadian Horse Defence Coalition)
Jann Arden backs petition to stop live horse export

June 14 is the International Day to End Live Export of Animals

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (31) is scored on by Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martinez, not pictured, during the second period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup semifinal playoff series Monday, June 14, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
Habs fall 4-1 to Vegas Golden Knights in Game 1 of NHL semifinal series

Match was Montreal’s first game outside of Canada in 2021

(Dave Ogilvie photo)
One injured after being pinned by fallen forklift near Peachland

West Kelowna emergency crews responded to reports of a person stuck under a forklift

Penticton Overdose Prevention Society co-founders Desiree Franz, Shane Surowski and Stephanie Lines have created the city’s first unsanctioned public overdose prevention site using an old wine-tour bus. The site began operations in June 2021. (Desiree Franz/Facebook)
Volunteers launch Penticton’s first public supervised injection site

2021 is on pace to be the deadliest year for overdoses in Penticton on record

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

B.C. ambulance station in Revelstoke is expected to get a new system called the Scheduled On-Call (SOC) this fall. (Liam Harrap - Revelstoke Review)
B.C. ambulance changes could put Revelstoke residents at risk, warn local paramedics

Paramedics said to expect a substantial increase in ambulance response time starting this fall

This goose family went for a leisurely stroll down Vernon’s Main Street Saturday, April 25. (Dave Deshane photo)
Controversial Vernon goose cull won’t fly this year

Necessary permit procedures held up at a federal level

Mounties cover a burgundy truck with a tent at Buckerfields in West Kelowna on Monday, June 14. The RCMP is investigating after a woman’s body was found inside the truck. (Amandalina Letterio/Capital News)
West Kelowna RCMP investigating suspicious death after body found in truck

Police responded to a truck parked out front of a Main Street business where the body was found

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

Most Read