Catalytic converter thefts, says the Niagara Regional Police Service, are persisting in Niagara Falls and across the province.
Investigators have found that at least 30 automobiles have had their catalytic converters cut off in the region. Thieves are targeting vehicles with higher suspension systems, like vans and pick-up trucks.
Police say people steal catalytic converters — part of a vehicle’s exhaust system, which is designed to help manage pollution — in order to sell them to metal recyclers for cash.
The service says thieves will “often use cordless power tools like grinders or reciprocating saws to cut the catalytic converters from the bottom of the automobile.” The sound is noisy, and may cause sparking.
Police charge man with theft, mischief
Since February, investigators say they’ve identified two men in connection with four incidents. The service has arrested a man in connection with thefts in Niagara Falls, and say they’re looking for another.
On Feb. 26, detectives executed a search warrant at a house in the area of Summer Street and Morse Avenue. A 29-year-old man from Niagara Falls was arrested.
He faces several theft, mischief and trafficking property charges.
These include three counts each of theft under $5,000 and mischief under $5,000. He has also been charged with five counts of trafficking in property obtained by crime, break and enter to commit theft, and theft and mischief over $5,000, among others.
He is being held in custody.
Police say that a 27-year-old man from Thorold is also wanted for alleged offences, including trafficking property obtained by crime, break and enter to commit theft, mischief over $5,000 and others.
Officers say the man, Alexander John Pidgeon, has ties to Thorold and Niagara Falls.
He is described at 5’7, around 130 lbs, and has brown hair and eyes. Police say he has the words “Let it be” tattooed on his left forearm and a skull on his right forearm. Police also say he also has the words “I’m not” tattooed on his abdomen.
Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to contact detectives at 905-688-4111, ext. 1009514, or Crime Stoppers.
Tips for drivers
Niagara police have included tips for the public and businesses to keep their cars safe.
Motion lighting and improved lighting can act as deterrents, as well as fences that enclose an area or funnel people into a central area. Police say these fences should be checked on a regular basis and repaired if they’re damaged.
Officers also encourage people to use a secure garage to limit access, and to speak to their neighbours about their concerns to heighten awareness.
Other deterrents include alarms, sirens, and quality cameras. Trail cameras, police say, are moderately priced options.
Security personnel and dogs will “cause thieves to think twice about a possible encounter,” the release said. Officers suggest that business owners with a fleet of automobiles should consider patrolling their property.
Metal recycling businesses are required to keep proper records and report suspicious activity.