Notice of Catalytic Converter Thefts

A notice put out by the Tewksbury Police Department, warning residents about this type of car part theft that has occurred in Tewksbury and neighboring towns.

TEWKSBURY — The Tewksbury Police Depart­ment recently shared some information from the Lex­ington Police Department with the community. Re­sidents and business owners have been the victims of catalytic converter theft.

Ford F and E series trucks seem to be a popular target, according to po­lice. The Toyota Prius is another vehicle that is seeing a high number of thefts. Please report any suspicious activity you see to the Tewksbury Po­lice Department.

Tips to thwart thieves include parking in well-lit areas, parking close to building entrances or the nearest road in public parking lots, keeping garage doors closed and in­stalling surveillance cameras if possible. Additional measures include engraving the VIN (vehicle identification number) on the catalytic converter, and activating any security or alarms on the vehicle.

The parts are sold for scrap metal as the converters have a high precious metal content. A catalytic converter has a ceramic element coated in various precious metals such as platinum, rhodium and palladium. Legis­lators around the country are looking at bills now to prevent scrap metal dealers from purchasing catalytic converters without confirming ownership and preventing cash payments for the parts.

Authorities from Seattle to Boston have been battling this issue for years, with an uptick in recent months.

According to the Asso­ciated Press, the National Insurance Crime Bureau stated that the number of catalytic converter thefts reported in claims to in­surance companies jump­ed from 3,389 in 2019 to 14,433 in 2020. The issue is also happening in Europe.

The parts are stolen us­ing a saw under the vehicle, something that autho­rities say can be done quickly and fairly quietly. In North Carolina, a church van was put out of service when its catalytic conver­ter was stolen. The re­placement can cost over $1,000 and is an inconvenience to the vehicle’s owner.

Businesses have also been the victims of this crime, including delivery vehicles and customer cars in repair lots nationwide.

If you have been a victim, or have noticed any suspicious activity, contact the Tewksbury Police Depart­ment at 978-640-4385.

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