HOULTON, Maine — The Houlton Police Department is warning of an increase in catalytic converter thefts in Aroostook County and across the state. The Associated Press reports that this is a nationwide problem as well.
In a Facebook post Friday, Chief Tim DeLuca said thieves have removed the catalytic converters from parked vehicles at both businesses and private properties, using a variety of methods.
DeLuca said thefts in Houlton have not been trending upward, however, adding that he asks the community to collaborate in avoiding this type of crime in the community.
Catalytic converters are made with three valuable metals: platinum, palladium and rhodium. The parts can be sold for a few hundred dollars apiece, but can cost vehicle owners more than $1,000 to replace, police in Colorado told the Associated Press.
As DeLuca noted in his Facebook post, Minnesota lawmakers introduced legislation in February to crack down on these thefts. According to the AP, the bill would "make it illegal for scrap dealers to pay cash for converters. And it would be illegal for individuals to possess used converters that aren’t attached to a car unless the owner has proof of legitimate removal and ownership."
"Please feel free to contact me or any members of HPD at 532-2287," Deluca added. Anyone with knowledge of these thefts occurring should contact their local law enforcement.