KENT, Wash. - Nearly 800 catalytic converters and $40,000 in cash were seized following an investigation into a "wave of thefts" in the Pacific Northwest, according to Kent Police.
Police, along with the City of Kent and other cities in the regions say cases in vehicle catalytic converter thefts have been an ongoing issue. Officials with Kent say the number of cases rose from 5 in 2019 to 167 in the first half of 2021, according to a Kent Police Department release on Friday.
The suspects involved in the latest converter seizure are now in custody. Police say suspects in the area were traveling to King County to purchase stolen catalytic converters.
According to KPD, an average repair for a vehicle could cost $2,000 to 5,000 per vehicle. Regionally since January 2020, over 400 catalytic convert thefts have been reported.
In Tacoma, catalytic converter thefts this year taken from hybrid cars have risen by nearly 75 percent, according to Tacoma Police.
Kent Police say the best way to protect a vehicle from thefts is to:
- Be aware of commonly targeted vehicles: Toyota Priuses, trucks, and SUVs. These have easier access for thefts to slide under the vehicle.
- Keep a vehicle in a locked garage or use motion-sensitive lights in the parking lot or driveway of the vehicle if a garage is not available.
- Install a catalytic converter antitheft device
- And paint the catalytic converter with high-temperature fluorescent paint and etch the vehicle's identification number into the paint to make the converter.
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