Thieves target valuable car part in Mississauga, Brampton to make big cash


Published November 16, 2022 at 3:30 pm

Peel Regional Police want to put the brakes on a growing criminal activity in Mississauga and Brampton in which thieves are stealing a specific car part and turning it into big bucks–potentially millions of dollars.

Looking to make quick and good money, thieves have been more active in stealing catalytic converters from vehicles across the region, Peel cops say.

A catalytic converter is part of a vehicle’s exhaust system that reduces polluting emissions. It’s made of precious metals like palladium, platinum and rhodium, which make the car part especially valuable to thieves, and they’re relatively easy to remove from cars in about a minute.

Additionally, they often lack serial numbers, making them difficult to trace once removed from the car.

Some of the precious metals are more valuable than gold, and their value has been increasing, reports from the U.S. indicate. Catalytic converters can cost more than $1,000 each on the black market, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, which busted a huge catalytic converter theft ring earlier this month.

In an effort to get the word out to people here, Peel police are hosting two public events this weekend in Mississauga in which they’ll highlight new theft-deterrent techniques specific to catalytic converters.

Such techniques include vehicle owners etching their licence plate number into the catalytic converter so it is traceable if found. Parking in well-lit areas, making sure your car alarm is on and specialized paint are other measures police will talk about from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday (Nov. 19-20) at Halton Transmission, at 735 Dundas St. W.

Police are also offering free etching of catalytic converters at the weekend events. They ask that members of the public bring non-perishable food items.

The theft of catalytic converters has become a huge and extremely lucrative criminal enterprise across both Canada and the U.S. the past couple of years.

Earlier this month south of the border, the U.S. Justice Department reported that 21 people in five states were arrested in what’s alleged to be a nationwide catalytic converter theft ring in which tens of millions of dollars worth of the specific car part were sold after being stolen.

Arrests were made in California, Oklahoma, Wyoming, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Nevada and North Carolina, according to the Justice Department, as reported by CBS News.

The Justice Department alleges that local thieves would steal catalytic converters and then sell them to buyers up the chain in the criminal network.

Those buyers, in turn, are alleged to have then sold more than $38 million in catalytic converters to a large auto company in New Jersey. That company is then believed by authorities to have extracted the precious metal powders and sold them to a metal refinery for over $545 million.

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