One of the suspect vehicles

NEWTOWN TOWNSHIP >> On June 14, Newtown Township Police responded to reports of catalytic converters stolen from commercial vehicles parked in the Newtown Business Commons.

Detectives obtained security video footage from businesses in the area, showing the suspects arriving in a four-door green or teal colored vehicle with possible two-tone coloring on the driver's side front fender, occupied by two individuals.

Anyone with information about the thefts is asked to contact the Newtown Township Police Department at 215-579-1000. 

The rate of catalytic converter theft varies depending on the current prices of the metals inside it. Price increases typically result in an increase in thefts. Thieves look for easy targets when it comes to catalytic converter theft, and a few simple steps help make your car or SUV a less likely target.

- Always park in well-lit areas when possible. If you have a personal garage, keep your car in the garage with the door closed when the vehicle is not in use.

- Park close to a building entrance or to the nearest access road when parking in a public lot. This is due to the increased amount of pedestrian traffic in those areas.

- Security devices are available that attach to the converter, making it harder to steal. Having the converter welded in place also makes it more difficult to remove. If you have a security system on your car, calibrate it so vibration sets it off. This ensures the alarm activates if a thief tries to saw off the converter.

- Video surveillance around your garage or driveway is also useful if you have the budget for it. Engrave your VIN number onto your catalytic converter to make it easier to identify in case it does get stolen. Etching is a barrier that can prevent the equipment from being stolen and also can help in arresting and prosecuting such theft. Stealing the property is a felony. VIN etching can make the converter, and possibly the vehicle, far less desirable to steal. Owners are often out hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars for their deductible and others are out repair costs to replace this equipment Thieves cut or unbolt converters from the vehicle's exhaust system often in parking structures and park 'n ride lots and also at night.

Symptoms of Catalytic Converter Theft

If your catalytic converter is stolen, you’ll notice a loud rumbling or roaring sound as soon as you turn on the engine. This gets louder when you hit the gas. The exhaust is not working properly, so the vehicle also drives rougher than usual, often with a sense of sputtering as you change speed. Go to the back of the car and look underneath. The catalytic converter is a round canister that connects two pieces of piping in the exhaust. You will see a gaping space in the middle of your exhaust if the converter is missing, and you will likely see signs of the piping being cut away.

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