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Ontario man says new truck had catalytic converter stolen at dealership

New insurance data shows catalytic converter theft continues to be a huge problem that is showing no signs of slowing down.

According to the Allstate Insurance Company of Canada, theft of catalytic converters rose 60 per cent over the past year, and a whopping 1,700 per cent between 2018 and 2022.

David Warren, of Bowmanville, Ont., told CTV News Toronto he bought a brand new 2022 Dodge Ram truck this past March.

“I was having problems with the truck as soon as I drove it off the lot,” Warren said.

Warren said after picking up the truck, the check engine light came on and there were other issues. He took it to another dealer and said he was told the catalytic converter in his new truck had been replaced with an aftermarket one.

“I was shocked to get that phone call from the dealership saying that the original was stolen and that they had an aftermarket installed," Warren said.

"It shouldn't happen on brand new vehicles when you're buying them.”

Thieves are stealing catalytic converters for the precious metals inside, which include platinum, palladium and rhodium, and are sold for as much as $300 per convertor to salvage yards.

Now it appears criminals are targeting new and used car dealerships, where vehicles often sit unprotected overnight.

“We have talked to the dealership association and they are definitely suffering (due to catalytic converter thefts) both new car lots and used car lots,” said Steve Fletcher, managing director of the Automotive Recyclers of Canada Association (ARC).

Fletcher said while its 350 members follow the rules when it comes to dealing with stolen auto parts in the metals recycling industry, there are some small companies that may be willing to buy illegally-sourced catalytic converters.

"There are a lot of very independent small guys who don't want to turn away a quick buck and there are out and out crooks who exploit loopholes and actively seek out people who have one, two or five catalytic convertors and they are not the true owners of the convertors,” Fletcher said.

According to Allstate Insurance, the average cost to replace a catalytic converter is now $2,900, which is an 81 per cent increase from three years ago.

Warren says he feels the dealer should have told him the catalytic converter on his new truck was not original equipment.

“Ultimately I would like the vehicle either returned of exchanged for a new one," Warren said.

After CTV News Toronto contacted the dealer, they agreed to give Warren a new truck.

Dealers are encouraged to park vehicles indoors, provide extra security and take other measures to prevent catalytic converter theft.

Some auto shops are now engraving converters with a vehicle identification number or placing a cage or protective plate over them so thieves will be unable to cut them off. Top Stories

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