Catalytic converters contain valuable materials like platinum, making them a target for theft. (Mission RCMP photo)

Catalytic converters contain valuable materials like platinum, making them a target for theft. (Mission RCMP photo)

What’s that grinding noise? Could be a catalytic converter theft in progress

Alert RCMP officer runs plate, finds vehicle uninsured, two people arrested

If you hear a strange grinding noise coming from underneath a vehicle, it could be a catalytic converter theft in progress.

A pair of Chilliwack suspects were arrested Dec. 30, after the alleged theft of a catalytic converter.

It was an “alert” RCMP officer who first spotted the Volkswagon Jetta, which turned out to be uninsured.

The Jetta was parked alongside another vehicle at the rear of a parking lot in the 5800-block of Vedder Road.

“The vehicle, together with the odd behaviour of its two occupants, caught our officer’s attention,” said RCMP Cpl. Mike Rail of the Chilliwack RCMP.

When the officer punched the licence plate into the police database, the vehicle came up as uninsured, and was linked to a theft of catalytic converter reported to Abbotsford police in December 2021.

The Jetta had been parked for almost 30 minutes when a suspect stood up between the parked vehicles, allegedly tossed a catalytic converter into the Jetta, and went to drive away.

Police officers quickly converged on the site and arrested a 44-year-old man and a 34-year-old woman, both of Chilliwack.

RCMP later released both individuals pending a court date in February.

“Generally a cutting device is required to complete the act,” added Cpl. Rail. “That sound from under a parked vehicle is often the key to recognizing the theft is occurring.”

Rail shared some tips for preventing catalytic converter theft:

• Park in secure garage or compound

• Park so it is difficult to gain access to vehicle

• Install catalytic-converter theft deterrents such as protective cages, alarms and straps.

How to spot a theft in progress:

• Loud noises such as grinding, sawing from under parked vehicle

• Hearing/seeing suspicious activity near parked vehicles.

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City of ChilliwackRCMP