The catalytic converters of two vehicles were cut off and stolen from outside the Fox Hills Condominiums in Bloomfield Township this week, police said.
It's the second similar theft involving multiple vehicle parked at residential complexes in as many weeks, according to police reports. The recent thefts both involved Cadillacs that were parked overnight on Oct. 28 and Oct. 29, police reports said. Authorities have not identified a suspect in either incident, or in any of the other catalytic convertor cases yet.
Bloomfield Township police officers responded to the condominiums in the 600 block of E. Fox Hills Dr. after the vehicle owners discovered the damage the following day. On Oct. 11, officers responded to the at the Sunrise Assisted Living building at 6790 Telegraph Rd. after the owners of a 1998 Pontiac Sunfire and a 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee discovered the thefts at roughly the same time.
The converters, which are used to filter the engine's emissions, are commonly targeted by thieves because of the valuable metal components inside, such as platinum or palladium, authorities said.
This week's incidents are at least the fourth and fifth catalytic thefts reported to Bloomfield Township police since the spring.
What to do?
Vehicles without converters must often be towed at the owner's expense and can cost between $300 to $1,000 to replace, according to the Nationwide Insurance website.
Police said these crimes are typically hard to stop because they're rarely discovered in progress, and may not be noticed until motorists actually drive the vehicle. However, the Nationwide Insurance website recommends the following common-sense tips that may reduce the risk of it happening to you.
- Always park in well-lighted areas.
- At shopping centers and other similar parking lots, park close the entrance of the building, or near the access road where there’s a lot of traffic.
- If you own or work at a business or factory, park within a fenced area that’s busy during the day and secured at night.
- Engrave your license plate number on the converter to make it traceable. This can act as a catalytic converter theft deterrent and help with local police investigations.
- Purchase a vehicle security system, and make sure its set to triggered with just the slightest motion.
- Visit a local muffler shop and have the converter secured to the vehicle’s frame with a couple of pieces of hardened steel welded to the frame.
- Check out the different types of catalytic converter theft deterrent systems at your local auto parts store or on the Internet.