Police officers in the Lower Mainland found themselves in an early-morning foot chase after a catalytic converter theft was caught in action by a witness earlier this week.
The witness called New Westminster Police after spotting what they believed to be someone cutting the piece off a vehicle’s exhaust system in a parking lot at about 3:50 a.m. on Nov. 28.
Officers located the suspect in Moody Park, but they fled from police, sparking a foot chase.
The person was eventually arrested without incident.
“As the value of the precious metals contained within the catalytic converters continues to increase, so do the number of thefts of these devices,” Sgt. Justine Thom said in a statement.
According to ICBC, claims for such thefts have climbed from 89 in 2017 to more than 1,900 in 2021 – with claim costs spiking from $356,950 to over $4 million.
In March, the province announced new regulations to the Metal Dealers and Recyclers Regulations, in attempts to deter these thefts. The new rules direct all metal dealers to report each transaction to police of a catalytic converter when not attached to the rest of the exhaust system. These details include information about the seller.
Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said at the time that the intention to the amendment was to reduce anonymity when converters are sold and thus reduces the incentive to steal them in the first place.