Police see a rise in catalytic converter thefts

There has been a rise in catalytic converter thefts in Washington and nationwide. Just this week, Kennewick police arrested a man in connection to two recent thefts.

According to KPD, since the start of the new year, 46 catalytic converters have been reported stolen, ten of them stolen between April and May.

Kennewick police say it can take just one minute for someone to steal a catalytic converter. The converters act as a filter for the exhaust gases coming out of the engine and thieves can make a lot of money out by stripping the precious metals inside. 

“They are doing it in broad daylight and in parking lots. So they’ll just drive through a parking lot to see if there is a catalytic converter to take. One person rolls under the car, and in one minute, they can roll back out and have the converter in under a minute,” said Lt. Aaron Clem, Kennewick Police Department. 

“There is ‘body armor’ that is being created to protect the more expensive catalytic converters in hybrid cars and you can find the kits online,” said A.J. Schneider a service writer at 360 Automotive & Repair in Kennewick.

Schneider said it could cost anywhere from $1,000 to $7.000 to replace. 

“Park in well lite areas and park where your vehicle can be seen. If you see something suspicious and you think something is wrong, give us a call, and we will come out and investigate. We would much rather come out and find nothing, just somebody looking for a parking space, than come out later and take a theft report because someone’s catalytic converter was stolen.”   – Lt. Aaron Clem, Kennewick Police Department. 

Not all insurance plans cover this type of theft. If you are unsure about your insurance talk with your insurance agent about your coverage and deductibles. 

If you have any information on these types of thefts or other crimes, visit the Kennewick Police Department’s website. There you can find a link to submit “Anonymous Tips.”

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Additional Tips from the Kennewick Police Department:

KPD Facebook Post: “If you see suspicious vehicles or activity, please call and report the incident immediately. Typical tools used to steal the catalytic converters are hack saws, Sawzall, and chain exhaust pipe cutters. The suspects usually are arriving in another vehicle. They then crawl under a vehicle and cut off the vehicle part, and then flee. They tend to go to less-traveled areas or storage areas. We have also noticed that they tend to stake out or drive through neighborhoods looking for their next victim vehicle prior to committing the crime.”

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