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Catalytic converter thefts spike in Niagara Falls

Crooks seem to have an eye for Hyundai cars or sport utility vehicles
Niagara Regional Police Service file photo

Niagara Falls is experiencing a spike in catalytic converter thefts, report Niagara Regional Police. Thieves have have targeted more than 21 parked trucks and cars since early February, a news release states.

Thieves have been active in the residential apartment building parking lots in the north end (north of Thorold Stone Road) in Niagara Falls.  Thieves have also targeted commercial parking lots within the area of Montrose Road, McLeod Road, Pin Oak Drive and Canadian Drive, the release adds.

Suspects are using battery operated handheld power tools such as grinders and reciprocating saws to cut the catalytic converters off the bottom of the cars and trucks.  Ten of the 21 incidents have involved a Hyundai car or sport utility vehicle. The stolen catalytic converters are believed to be then being sold for the metals they contain. 

Anyone with information about these thefts is asked to contact 2 District Niagara Falls detectives by calling 905-688-4111, option 3, extension 1009219.

Members of the public who wish to provide information anonymously can contact Crime Stoppers of Niagara online or by calling 1-800-222-8477. 

 Crime Prevention Tips                                                                                                                                                                                                           

  • Lighting - Motion lighting or improved lighting where automobiles are kept can act as a deterrent.
  • Fences - Fences around car lots that either enclose the area or funnel people to a central area can help deter and identify suspects.  The integrity of fences should be checked on a regular basis and repaired if found damaged.
  • Garages - Where possible the use of a secure garage will limit thieves from accessing the automobiles.
  • Neighbours - Speak to your neighbours to alert them to your concerns.  Their awareness to the issue may help them identify and report suspicious behaviour.
  • Cameras - The use of quality cameras can help identify suspects in the event of a crime.  Cameras can also be a deterrent. Trail cameras can be effective moderately priced option.
  • Security Personnel/Dogs - The overt regular presence of security personnel / dogs will cause thieves to think twice about a possible encounter.
  • Patrols - If you are a business owner with a fleet of automobiles frequently patrolling the property will help identify anything suspicious.
  • Metal recycling businesses - As required keep proper records and report suspicious activity. 
  • Strange Noises and Sparks – When a thief uses a power tool to cut the catalytic converter off a vehicle it will make loud noises and create sparks.  
  • Park – Park in high traffic areas where frequent foot and vehicle traffic may act as a deterrent.