Watertown has seen a rash of catalytic converter thefts over recent months, and the Police Department has teamed with a local auto dealer to try to prevent thefts.
The devices are part of a car’s exhaust system and contain valuable metals, so they can be costly to replace. They can also be removed from a vehicle in a matter of minutes, said Rodney Dukes, service director at Toyota of Watertown.
One of the most common targets for catalytic converter thieves is the Toyota Prius. Customers can get a plate installed over the catalytic converter to slow thieves, Dukes said. The WPD, Toyota of Watertown and Cronin Signs are also trying to make the devices less attractive by spray painting “Property of Watertown Police” on them, said Watertown Police Sgt. Ken Swift.
“When they steal catalytic converters they take it to a scrap yard, but they can’t resell something stolen so hopefully that deters them from doing it,” Swift said. “It has the Property of Watertown Police on it, so they can’t resell it — that’s the hope.”
Other towns in other states have run similar programs and have had some success, Swift said. The paint that will be used is heat resistant up to 500 degrees, so it will not deteriorate.
Customers must purchase the plate, but getting the spray paint is a free service for those who sign up. The service is available for vehicles of all makes and models. Appointments are being scheduled for Friday, Nov. 18, 2022, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at Toyota of Watertown, 149 Arsenal St., Watertown. To sign up contact Sgt. Ken Swift at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Here’s hoping for a significant lull in these thefts with the recent nation-wide take-down of a multimillion-dollar catalytic converter theft network.
A company called DG Auto Parts in New Jersey did the metals processing. One crew in California allegedly sold over $38 million in stolen catalytic converters to DG Auto.
Unfortunately, catalytic converter thefts continue to ravish communities all over the state. I am aware that the legislature is looking into the issue. There is legislation requiring photo ID and other info for those trying to sell catalytic converters with a prohibition for cash sales. Our legislative delagation is in support. Fingers crossed that they pass this important bill.
That is a great idea, and I hope other departments follow suit. One other thing that can and should be done, is to prosecute to the fullest extent of the law, the criminals who are causing damage to not only the vehicles of total innocents, but to their wallets. A thief can steal a hundred converters and then be allowed to “plea down” to a single one and get off with a slap on the wrist. A lesson must be taught which will make them think twice before doing it again.
Great start and some pretty good thinking from Watertown PD. The thieves are one part the other is the junk dealer who buys these, more than likely knowingly that they are stolen. I know people who’ve had the convertors stolen, also the delivery ramps from their trucks parked at the business in the Mass/Cass area in Boston. So if some guy or guys are bringing in truck loading ramps to the junkyard, tell me they don’t know they’re stolen. Round them up with the others and it may change, remove the money side. Thanks WPD!