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This article was published 12/4/2021 (197 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The North America-wide spike in catalytic converter thefts has hit Winnipeg. Organized groups of criminals are climbing under your parked vehicles and cutting out your catalytic converters and selling them to scrap metal dealers for cash, with no records kept.
Catalytic converters are a part of your vehicle’s exhaust systems that convert pollutants to less toxic material. The spike in thefts is due to the huge increases in the price of the exotic metals in them.
Precious metals like rhodium are valued at $19,000 per ounce. Palladium is worth $2,200 per ounce, and platinum is worth $1,300 per ounce. It’s no wonder scrap metal dealers will pay good money for these items. In fact, catalytic converters are priced to the vehicle and may be bought by scrap metal dealers for as low as $122.43 and as much as $800 for some larger ones.
These thefts cost Manitobans about $2,000 for each catalytic converter replacement. MPI charges a ‘betterment fee’ for new replacements so your insurance won’t cover the full cost of replacement.
The needed rules changes aren’t complicated. Sellers should have to provide government-issued photo ID and dealers must be required to record and retain this information for two years and must also record details of the transactions. Payments would have to made using traceable methods, such as electronic transfers or cheques.
Scrap metal dealers would have to report all transactions involving commonly stolen metals, including copper, and items such as catalytic converters.
All construction sites face a similar risk of metal theft.
British Columbia has longstanding scrap metal legislation along these lines and Alberta passed new scrap metal laws last year.
So when is Manitoba going to take action to prevent these thefts?
The Winnipeg Police Service recently reported 77 thefts in January and, unless the province takes this issue seriously, many more Winnipeg drivers will be experiencing the shock of waking up the whole neighbourhood when they start their vehicles in the morning, with a noise that costs $2,000 to fix.
If you have any questions or comments, please contact me at email@example.com or call my office at 204-415-1122.
Elmwood constituency report
Jim Maloway is the NDP MLA for Elmwood.