“Unfortunately, thieves will take advantage of this often unmonitored time to steal a catalytic converter”

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City police are warning Edmontonians of recent thefts of catalytic converters from motorhomes.

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So far in 2022, the Edmonton Police Service has received 19 reports of motorhome catalytic converter thefts, with 11 of those reported in April.

Police said in a news release that investigators have been monitoring an increase in the thefts since 2020, when they received 65 theft reports, 38 of which were made between April and June. In 2021, that number increased 50 per cent to 98 reports, 32 of which were reported in the same time period.

Of all the thefts reported since 2020, motorhomes were parked on residential streets or private properties in 62 per cent of the reports.

“Motorhomes are often parked in fenced storage lots in and around the city, in backyards or on parking pads adjacent to alleyways, sometimes for up to six months over the winter,” said Sgt. Derrick Tabaka, investigative coordinator with the provincial scrap metal intelligence unit of the Alberta Law Enforcement Response Team’s Criminal Intelligence Service Alberta.

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“Unfortunately, thieves will take advantage of this often unmonitored time to steal a catalytic converter.”

Tabaka said motorhomes are also stolen when they are parked on the street in the spring as owners prep them for summer.

The estimated replacement cost of a catalytic converter ranges from $3,000 to $8,000, with the most common models targeted belonging to the Ford series.

Police believe the converters are stolen in order to exchange them for drugs or money, while many are sold to scrap metal dealers and recyclers for the precious metals inside.

Investigators are encouraging motorhome owners to prevent thefts by avoiding parking the vehicle in a place where thieves can discreetly crawl underneath and remove the converter, engrave the converter with a vehicle identification number to easier identity as stolen property, weld the converter to the vehicle to make it more difficult to remove, invest in a clamp or cage that will make removal more difficult, and purchase a vehicle alarm that is sensitive to the vibration of a catalytic converter being sawed off.

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