Earlier this week, an East Vancouver woman became the 14th person this year to be assaulted by catalytic converter thieves.
On the morning of Monday (Oct. 4), the 41-year-old was pepper-sprayed when confronted by two men in the middle of removing the catalytic converter from her vehicle parked near Renfrew St and East 1st Ave. The suspects are still outstanding, according to a recent VPD release.
The woman is far from alone, though, as assaults directly related to catalytic converter thefts have been on the rise in 2021.
“There have been 14 catalytic converter thefts this year in Metro Vancouver where the victim was assaulted during the theft compared to six in 2020,” says Constable Tania Visintin, VPD. “Most of these incidents involve bear or pepper spray, but in one case, a pellet gun was used.”
Between January 1, 2021, and October 5, 2021, the VPD has had 425 reports of catalytic converter thefts compared to a total of 204 thefts in 2020.
In July, VPD’s Property Crime Unit launched an investigation into two prolific offenders who were responsible for four catalytic converter thefts in one night alone. That investigation resulted in the arrest of the suspects, who were charged with theft and possession of the stolen property.
Part of a vehicle’s exhaust system, catalytic converters are sought by thieves for the precious metals found inside them.
The VPD strongly recommends not confronting the thieves, advising instead to observe them and call 911.