The City of Delaware Police Department is investigating a number of catalytic converters being stolen from vehicles this past weekend.
Police report that on July 7, six residents living in apartments on Limetree Drive, Trotter’s Circle and Curtis Street reported that someone had stolen their catalytic converters from their vehicles overnight. Police report that on July 8, a resident living in an apartment on Stratford Road also reported that their catalytic converter had been cut off of their vehicle.
Scott Linnane, the owner of Saint’s Auto Service on Central Avenue, said catalytic converters are emissions control devices and are common targets for thieves because they contain precious metals, which have a high value at junkyards.
Police Capt. Adam Moore said thieves will take a handheld saw and cut the exhaust pipe before and after the catalytic converter to steal it. Moore added that all of the vehicles were sedans between 15 to 18 years old, and all the vehicles were parked in lots at apartment complexes.
Linnane said drivers would know immediately if their converter had been stolen because their exhaust would be “very loud.” He added repairing the exhaust and replacing a catalytic converter ranges in price from a couple hundred dollars to thousands of dollars, depending on the vehicle.
Moore said this type of theft is not very common, and the police department only took two reports of similar thefts in 2017, and only took one report in 2016 and one in 2015.
Linnane added that this crime was very common a number of years ago before legislation began requiring junkyards to keep better records of people selling catalytic converters.
Moore recommends Delaware residents park their cars in their garages if possible or park them in a driveway or well-lit area. Moore encouraged residents to contact police if they see suspicious activity.
The investigations into the thefts are still ongoing, and Moore said anyone with information about the stolen items should contact the police department.