Why Do Thieves Want to Steal Catalytic Converters?
Audacious criminals are being caught on camera stealing car’s catalytic converters (CAT) – in broad daylight. A stunned onlooker filmed three men jumping out of a Ford Focus, one jacking up the car, one cutting out the catalytic converter while the other acted as a lookout. The video, lasting just 50 seconds, shows the thief using a powered hacksaw to remove the part on April 15th.
More recently, a doctor at St Peter’s Hospital in Chertsey, Surrey was one of the latest victims of this crime. Thankfully, the two thieves had triggered Dr Shruram Rabinthiran’s dashcam which captured their every move including clear images of their faces and identifiable tattoos.
These are just two cases of the alarming amount of reports of criminal gangs targeting catalytic converters. Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, released figures showing the number of catalytic converter thefts rose from 174 in 2017 to 1,484 in 2018 across the capital. The increase is thought to be due to the precious metals inside – including rhodium, palladium and platinum – can be stripped out and resold for hundreds of pounds.
Catalytic converters have no identifying features that scrap dealers can check to see if the part is stolen or not. So what can be done to prevent these criminals from targeting yours?
- CAT Marking Kit – for less than £15, a deterrent kit can be purchased online to mark the catalytic converter. It consists of a heat resistant label with a unique code which marks the CAT. The code is then registered with ACPO SBD Police database.
- Dashcam – As in the case with the Doctor from Chertsey, footage from a dashcam was able to capture the thieves at work. Dashcam footage is also becoming increasingly used if you should have a road accident.
- Catalytic Converter Locks – There is a range of locks/clamps that can be fitted to most 4×4, minivans, vans or motorhomes (due to the high ground clearance). They also come with window decals that act as an added deterrent.
- Park in garage – A simple one, park in garage.
- CCTV – If you park your vehicle on a driveway overnight, then invest in modern CCTV such as HomeHive, NestCam or Ring. Cameras that can be fitted indoors or out. The added feature of most modern CCTV is they can connect to your WIFI and can be monitored remotely via your smartphone or tablet. While these cover your vehicle that can act as a deterrent for burglars also.
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