A thief with a saw was no match for Burnaby RCMP dog Kal.
A thief attempting to steal catalytic converters in Burnaby was caught targeting four vehicles. An electric saw was found nearby and Kal was sent to hunt down the thief.
A man is currently in police custody.
Catalytic converter thefts in the Lower Mainland reached 2,154 in 2020 and vehicle crime shows no signs of decreasing in the first three months of this year.
The theft of emission control devices has led to hundreds of deductible insurance claims from vehicle owners, with the Insurance Corporation of BC reporting losses of nearly $ 2 million last year.
The persistent crime prompted the Vancouver Police Board to call on the B.C. government to amend the Metal Dealers and Recyclers Act to require scrap dealers to collect IDs from sellers.
Currently, there is no obligation for a scrap dealer – where converters are typically sold for up to $ 200 each for the precious metals they contain – to report a transaction.
“This makes the Vancouver Police Department’s investigations more difficult as the alleged offenders leave the city of Vancouver with the stolen converter,” said one. report attached to a resolution of the police commission forwarded to the BC Association of Police Boards last month.
“Identification is not required to sell catalytic converters, which makes it difficult to identify suspects. “
Vancouver Police investigated 203 reports of converter thefts in 2020 and said 71 thefts took place between January 1 and March 6 of this year; for the same period in 2020, vehicle owners filed 33 returns.
Police say a converter, which converts pollutants into less harmful emissions before they leave a vehicle’s exhaust system, can be stolen in seconds with a torch or cutting tool.
Thieves often target vehicles higher off the ground such as minivans and SUVs to allow easier access to the underside of a vehicle.
In flights to Vancouver this year, Hondas made up 37 percent of the vehicles targeted, followed by Fords (26 percent) and Toyota (seven percent), according to a VPD press release released Thursday.
ICBC statistics for the Lower Mainland show claim costs of $ 1.9 million for 2020, with an average claim of $ 2,117.
The amount of $ 1.9 million represents 927 claims submitted to ICBC that have associated costs. There may be additional thefts for those without full ICBC insurance, according to an email from the company, which confirmed that not all victims report a theft to the agency or the police.
The claim fee also excludes the cost of a person’s deductible.
- With additional reporting by Mike Howell, Glacier Media