Police Investigating Catalytic Converter Thefts

Police say they are investigating two more thefts of catalytic converter units from vehicles in Takoma Park.

The thefts occurred in the following areas, according to an emailed community advisory:

  • 6700 block of Poplar Avenue sometime between the evening of 12/12 and morning of 12/13 from a Toyota Prius – Case #210050582
  • 6700 block of Gude Avenue sometime between the evening of 12/12 and morning of 12/13 from a Toyota Prius – Case #210050592

“We are asking for our community’s help to prevent catalytic converter theft and to assist with apprehending suspects,” Takoma Park Police spokesperson Cathy Plevy said via email. “If you hear strange noises during the night, such as power tools or sawing, if you see a vehicle stopped in the middle of the road alongside a parked vehicle, if you see or hear ANYTHING out of the ordinary, please call (301) 270-1100.”

The Takoma Park Police recently partnered with RS Automotive and Lowe’s to launch Operation: Etch & Catch, a new initiative designed to combat catalytic converter thefts.

“In an effort to deter would-be thieves and to track stolen catalytic converters, the Takoma Park Police Department has teamed up with RS Automotive on Carroll Avenue and Lowe’s,” Plevy said. “People who want their catalytic converters etched and painted can visit RS Automotive, 7224 Carroll Avenue, Takoma Park, Maryland, to have their license plate number etched onto their catalytic converter, free of charge. An appointment is needed – (301) 270-4418.”

There have been multiple thefts of catalytic converters from vehicles in Takoma Park in recent months. “Hybrid cars, such as the Prius, are targeted by thieves because they have two power sources – an electric motor and a petrol or diesel engine – so their catalytic converters are used less frequently to process pollutants,” Plevy said last June. “This means the metals inside them are less likely to corrode, so they’re more valuable and therefore more desirable to thieves.”

Thieves often target catalytic converters for the platinum contained inside. Sprott, a precious metals investor, said in March that platinum prices increased 90% between March 2020 and March 2021, as demand far outstripped supply during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photo: © chaiyasit/Adobe Stock

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