TOWNSEND – Police Chief James Sartell and the Townsend Police Department is warning citizens concerning a recent significant increase in catalytic converter thefts in New England and throughout the United States, and share suggestions to protect their vehicles.
Vehicles parked in businesses and industrial complexes are targeted most often, so police ask members of the business community to be acutely aware of the trend.
A catalytic converter is an exhaust emission control device that is a critical part of all vehicles’ exhaust system and often expensive to replace.
Larger trucks such as box trucks and pickup trucks are specifically sought because the suspect(s) can simply crawl under the vehicle. The catalytic converter is then removed from the vehicle via a cutting device. These thefts mostly occur during the overnight and early morning hours. The best way to prevent this type of theft would be to secure vehicles inside a locked garage, or contain vehicles within a well-secured area if possible.
The International Association of Auto Theft Investigators (IAATI), in cooperation with the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), has provided vehicle owners with suggestions to help prevent theft and identify stolen parts:
-Engrave a number, such as your vehicle’s VIN or license plate number and state code (like MA for Massachusetts).
-Purchase a marker kit that labels your catalytic converter and includes listing on a free and secure registration database.
-Purchase high temperature automotive exhaust spray paint in a bright color and apply a generous amount to the catalytic converter. Doing so creates a visible deterrent because it signals law enforcement and recyclers to look for further identification marks.
-Ensure your vehicle has an alarm and that it is activated.
-Install motion-activated lights in parking areas.