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RCMP report 33 recent catalytic converter thefts in N.B., a headache for auction yard

WATCH: Rash of catalytic converter thefts a headache for N.B. auction yard

RCMP in New Brunswick are investigating a string of thefts from vehicles across the southern part of the province.

But unlike most thefts from vehicles you hear about, these aren’t from inside vehicles. Thieves have been stealing catalytic converters, part of a vehicle’s exhaust system.

Since December 2020, RCMP received 13 related reports; in all, 33 catalytic converters have been stolen from eight communities.

“The incidents occurred at various times of the day and night in the communities of Bloomfield, Codys, Four Corners, Grand Bay-Westfield, Hampton, Nauwigewauk, Sussex and Welsford,” RCMP said in a news release.

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“We did make two arrests on Jan. 25 in relation to one of the catalytic converter thefts that occurred in Welsford,” Cpl. Jullie Rogers-Marsh, of the Southeast District RCMP, said in an interview with Global News.

“We’re continuing to investigate to determine whether the two arrested are considered suspects in the other investigations.”

Jeff LeBlanc, the general manager of ADESA Moncton, says ID or some form of tracking should be required when recycling these parts

Jeff LeBlanc, the general manager of ADESA Moncton, says ID or some form of tracking should be required when recycling these parts

Shelley Steeves / Global News

Jeff LeBlanc, the general manager of ADESA Moncton, knows all too well about catalytic converter thefts.

The car auction company has had about a dozen of the units stolen from vehicles in their yard in recent months, but LeBlanc says there may be still some thefts they’re unaware of yet.

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“The inventory that we have here doesn’t belong to us, but we’re actually the ones footing the bill, replacing these things that run anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000 minimum cost to have replaced,” LeBlanc says.

According to LeBlanc, the process of stealing these catalytic converters is a fairly simple one.

“Climbing underneath the car, they have a , which is a battery-operated tool; they slide underneath the car, and they make two cuts — the front side of the catalytic converter and the backside — and it falls on the ground, and they’re gone within a couple of minutes.”

Police say it appears thieves are targeting commercial vehicles parked near businesses and ones that have been sitting for a long period of time.

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“We’ve had to take all the that we’ve had in our yard and centralize them in the middle of our yard so our infrared cameras can pick up heat motion around the perimeter,” LeBlanc says.

“It’s the metal inside of them, that’s why they’re so valuable,” he says of the catalytic converters.

Cpl. Jullie Rogers-Marsh, a Southeast District RCMP spokesperson, says police are investigating whether two people arrested in connection to one theft could've been involved others

Cpl. Jullie Rogers-Marsh, a Southeast District RCMP spokesperson, says police are investigating whether two people arrested in connection to one theft could've been involved others

Megan Yamoah / Global News

But LeBlanc says he is hoping for change in response to these thefts.

“We have two or three recycling facilities that aren’t required to, I guess, document people bringing these items in,” he says.

LeBlanc says ID or some form of tracking should be required when recycling these parts.

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“So, the next week, if something got stolen, I reported it and there’s a way of tracking this and going back and holding people accountable,” he says.

Anyone who believes they may have been a victim of such a theft is asked to contact police. The same goes for anyone who may have any information about the people responsible for the crimes.

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

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