Chapel Hill police warn drivers of catalytic converter theft trend

Orange County News

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WNCN) – If you’re will be parking your car for an extended period of time in Chapel Hill, authorities are warning drivers about a recent rise in catalytic converter thefts.

Since the beginning of December, Chapel Hill police said there have been nine reports of catalytic converters stolen from vehicles in different areas of town.

“It’s happening where there are higher volumes of vehicles in one place,” said Ran Northam, the spokesman for Chapel Hill police.

Some places the thieves have hit include the Park and Ride on Eubanks Road and a parking area near the Eastgate shopping center on East Franklin Street.

“It does happen in chunks, because you’ll see maybe two or three taken from the same area,” Northam said.

Northam said it is usually a two-person team that will quickly get under the vehicle, cut out the catalytic converters, and get away.

“Depending on how often they’ve done it and how skilled they are, they can get in there pretty quickly,” Northam said. “In less than five minutes we would assume.”

According to the police reports, it is costing the victims hundreds of dollars.

The thieves are known for stealing the catalytic converters for the precious metals inside them.

Police said that if the catalytic converter is stolen from your car, your vehicle will still start. However, it may sound louder or off.

Northam said there are things drivers can do to prevent this from happening.

“There are cages that can be installed around it and there are other sorts of security of devices,” Northam said.

However, Northam said the best thing to do is to park your car in a well-lit area or in a garage.

If you have any information about these recent thefts, contact Chapel Hill Police at 919-968-2760.

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