Rise in catalytic converter thefts due to valuable metal found inside, impacting local businesses

Crime

ENFIELD, Conn. (WTNH) — Catalytic converter thefts are on the rise across the state. These thieves are after the valuable, precious metal found inside the devices. In Enfield, surveillance video captured one of these thefts in action.

“One of my guys came in in the morning to change a pulley on the van, started it up, and it’s roaring like a race car,” explained Brenden Smith, owner and secretary of RPS Associates in Enfield. “Climbed under the truck and realized the catalytic converters had been cut out.”

Brenden Smith is the owner and secretary of RPS Associates, a family-owned and operated business in Enfield specializing in dust collection. He checked their surveillance video and discovered the theft, which happened in the early hours of Wednesday morning, was captured on camera.

In the video sent to News 8 from Enfield Police, you see a white Acura MDX enter the property. You then see the car drive to the end of the parking lot, turn around, and stop in front of the company’s service van. A man gets out, climbs underneath the van, cuts out two catalytic converters, and hands it off to someone else in the car.

“Maybe someone will recognize these people and maybe it will get turned in,” said Smith. “There are precious metals in the catalytic converters, so they turn it around, scrap it, [and get] a few hundred bucks, depending on the converter they get.”

Those repairs will cost Smith thousands of dollars.

“It’s a big hit to us,” said Smith.  

These thefts are being reported in communities across the state. In Enfield, on the same day, four vehicles were hit in three different locations. In Ansonia, there have been eleven catalytic converter thefts since the end of February. In Groton this week, catalytic converters were taken from ten school buses and Chester’s Barbecue catering vans.

“That’s what I said to the other guy working with me,” explained Justin Currin, one of the managers at Chester’s Barbecue. “It sounds like there’s nothing on that right now, no catalytic converter.”

They use those vans several times a week. Now, Smith and his team are on a mission to put a stop to this.

“We might start designing protective plates to cover the catalytic converters on different types of vehicles,” Smith told News 8. “I’d like to help people from having to deal with this.”

If you have any information about any of these thefts, you’re being urged to contact the police right away. 

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