PACIFIC COUNTY — If your vehicle has suddenly sounded louder than usual, it might be worth checking to see if it still has a catalytic converter attached. Thieves are stealing the parts to cash in on the precious metals inside them that include platinum.

On April 4, the Pacific County Sheriff’s Office was notified by PacCom that a resident in Surfside reported a malicious mischief incident. The caller reported that their vehicle’s catalytic converter had been cut off overnight.

“The deputy responded to a call at approximately 10 a.m.,” Sheriff Robin Souvenir stated. “The reporting party stated that someone had cut a catalytic converter off his truck. The deputy investigated the incident, and it appeared to have been cut with some type of saw because it was a clean cut.”

“There have been some other reports. They have been in the south end of the county and not in any real concentrated area. We have had some other thefts of metal again in the south end of the county,” Souvenir added.

Raymond hit a year priorThis isn’t the first time this type of theft has occurred in Pacific County, but according to most law enforcement agencies, it hasn’t been prevalent, including the Long Beach Police Department, where Chief Flint Wright stated his agency had seen “zero” incidents.

In the north county region, the Raymond Police Department had an isolated incident with catalytic converter thefts at Willapa Behavioral Health. Public records from RPD show that on Aug. 3, 2020, a worker at WBH went to drive one of the agency’s vehicles parked in the parking lot, and it sounded louder than usual.

“The vehicle was taken to Steve’s Front End Repair [and] their finding was that someone had cut off the catalytic converter,” the responding officer wrote in the report.

Another report was filed the day after when the agency realized another company vehicle’s catalytic converter had also been cut off. It’s believed that both incidents took place at the same time, sometime between July 28, 2020, and Aug. 3, 2020.

Sheriff offers deterrent advice

Since catalytic converter thefts are on the rise across the country, with thieves hoping to cash in on their precious metals, just about anyone with a vehicle is at risk. One of the best ways to protect your vehicle, according to Souvenir, is to take a proactive approach.

“There are several things people can do,” Souvenir said. “The goal would be to make your vehicle less appealing to someone wanting to take parts from it. Some suggestions are engraving your license plate number on the part (you could be creative and engrave something like “Stolen from”), parking in lighted areas, [or] if you have a garage you can park vehicles inside with doors locked and alarmed.”

“[You could] set car alarms to detect vibration if possible. Motion lights can be a deterrent [along with] having cameras observing the outside of your home where vehicles are parked. Having signs stating that the property is under video surveillance [or] aftermarket devices that deter theft by placing barriers in the way, especially if you have a vehicle that is higher off the ground,” Souvenir added.

Additionally, Souvenir emphasized having a good relationship with surrounding neighbors so there can be a substantial neighborhood watch-style foundation. This way, everyone keeps an eye out for each other, and crime is curbed quickly. He also asks that residents make sure to report suspicious activity to his office or dispatch as part of the proactive approach.

“It is important for us to know when and where these occur so we can have a better understanding of the magnitude and frequency of these occurrences,” he said. “By reporting incidents, it helps us with our goal of making Pacific County a safe place to work, live and play with the resources provided.”

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