Dozens of catalytic converters stolen in Winnipeg, five arrests made, police say

Winnipeg police have arrested five people after a blitz of catalytic converter thefts across the city.

The first trio of arrests happened around 4 a.m. Sunday.

Officers on patrol in the 100 block of Donan Street near North Main spotted three people who they say appeared to be in the process of removing a catalytic converter from a vehicle parked in a back lane.

Two men, aged 28 and 23, along with a 20-year-old woman, all from Winnipeg, were charged with theft-related offences and later released on undertakings, according to police.

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Another pair of arrested happened early in the morning two days later.

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Officers were called to the 700 block of Regent Avenue for a report of two men stealing catalytic converters and several vehicles had already had theirs removed.

Police say they apprehended one man who they found hiding in between vehicles and carrying tools.

A second suspect fled in a vehicle, but members of the Property Crime Unit were able to track him down later that day and place him under arrest.

Two men, aged 36 and 38, were charged with theft-related offences in connection to that incident, according to police, and were released on undertakings.

Read more: Running vehicles a gift for car thieves: Winnipeg police, MPI

The Winnipeg Police Service (WPS) says it received 77 reports of catalytic converter theft during January 2021, resulting in some $385,000 in damages.

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A catalytic converter is an emissions control device that reduces toxic exhaust gases. It has “substantial trade value,” a police spokesperson told Global News.

Drivers will notice their vehicle is missing its converter when it suddenly begins making a loud roaring sound, not unlike a faulty muffler.

To prevent thefts, the WPS recommends:

  • Parking in a locked garage when possible.
  • Parking in well-lit parking lots or parkades.
  • Purchasing aftermarket clamps for added protection.
  • Scrap metal businesses should contact police if individuals bring in abnormal amounts of the converters.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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