NJ epidemic of catalytic converter thefts — 29 stolen in 10 days
🔴 Catalytic converter thieves are looking for the precious metals they contain
🔴 They've stolen 29 converters in 10 days
🔴 Police chief Raymond Hayducka blames scrap yards for encouraging thefts
The theft of 29 catalytic converters in 10 days led South Brunswick Police Chief Raymond Hayducka to declare an epidemic of thefts in New Jersey.
Law enforcement around the state has been dealing with catalytic converter theft for the past several years. The thieves steal the key part of a car's exhaust system in search of its precious metals of rhodium, palladium, and platinum. Professional thieves can remove them in minutes.
Hondas are the most targeted vehicle for thieves who usually strike between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.
Hayducka said there are multiple groups operating around New Jersey stealing the converters and have increasingly targeted South Brunswick in recent weeks.
During one of two encounters with police, the thieves hit speeds of 83 mph making their getaway.
“These suspects have no concern for public safety and will recklessly endanger everyone for a few hundred dollars,” Hayducka said.
A new law designed to make it harder for the converters to be sold and easier for law enforcement to identify, locate and prosecute violators doesn't seem to be having an impact which frustrates the chief.
“No legitimate business is having some walking in at 6 a.m. with a trunk full of catalytic converters and thinks this is legitimate,” Hayducka said.
South Brunswick has created saturation patrols in sections of town with the most thefts. He encourages residents to call 911 at the first sign of trouble.