Vehicle part thefts prompt attention
Metal thefts have burgeoned to include the dismantling of catalytic converters from vehicles in recent weeks, said police.
Thomaston Police Chief Kevin Haj said a stolen catalytic converter was reported last week by a resident of Beechwood Street. The part was taken from a Toyota truck.
On Jan. 14, another incident was reported, claiming a Toyota Tacoma, parked at the Rockland ferry terminal for a number of days, also was missing the part.
A catalytic converter is a device that filters emissions produced by the vehicle and became a mandatory part following the adoption of the Clean Air Act in 1970. They also contain a small amount of platinum, making them extra valuable.
A vehicle can run without the part, but as it's a device in the exhaust system, the vehicle will be noticeably louder with out it, said Eastern Tire & Auto Service mechanic Mike Parent. He added the check engine light would turn on and mechanics would be unable to inspect a vehicle missing a catalytic converter.
Officer Lloyd Daniels of the Rockland Police Department, said the case is under investigation and the department will visit scrap metal businesses in the area to determine who has been selling catalytic converters.
Daniels said the Toyota truck models may be specifically targeted as the frame sits high, allowing people to easily crawl underneath, cut, and extract the part.
Haj said the flanges at both ends are destroyed when cut, so the entire part must be replaced, costing about $1,800 or more, depending on the make and model.
Toyota models have a bolt that adheres the part, so the bolts could also be unscrewed, according to mechanics.
Daniels encourages the public to be attentive to this type of theft and urges witnesses to call in suspicious activity.
Haj suggested installation of motion detecting lights near vehicles or parking in a secure garage if possible to reduce opportunities for thieves. He acknowledged it is not always possible to prepare for this type of theft.
Courier Publications reporter Juliette Laaka can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 118 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.