DENVER (CBS4) – Dozens of Denver residents experience an unusual noise when their cars start. A booming sound after turning the key is often the sound of a stolen catalytic converter. In 2019, the Denver Police Department received 15 reports of stolen catalytic converters. In 2020 there were 257.

(Credit: CBS)

These numbers do not include the thefts that many victims fail to report to the police.

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When Alyssa Wurzberg spoke to Tori Mason from CBS4 in December, she hadn’t reported her stolen catalyst.

The Denver Police are encouraging victims to do so.

“It happens in the middle of the night. We have received reports that the victims were awakened by a noise outside and two or three suspects were scattered into the darkness of the night. Unfortunately, we haven’t had any solid evidence yet, ”said DPD Sergeant George Kenny. “It really took off in 2021.”

In January 2021 DPD received 108 reports of catalytic converter theft. In January 2020 DPD received a.

The cost of replacing these auto parts can cost hundreds of dollars. While victims go to a body shop, the next stop for thieves is often a junkyard. The precious metals in catalysts can be valued in excess of $ 100.

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“Unfortunately there are no regulations for scrap yards to report a load of metal to the police. That’s the frustrating part of this whole thing, “said Kenny. “They don’t know they were stolen because you can’t really track the serial numbers of catalytic converters. Only metal gets into the junkyard and there are no regulations to report it to the authorities. “

Kenny, these thefts are becoming a priority for the Denver Police Department. These are costly property crimes, and witnessing these thefts is an absolute reason to call 911. Kenny says DPD has already strengthened the patrol.

“Our Metro Auto Theft Task Force is aware of the problem and is working with other jurisdictions. If suspects are caught in further crimes, they will be questioned and interviewed about those thefts, ”said Kenny.

(Credit: CBS)

Kenny says there isn’t a specific area in Denver where most thefts take place. Catalytic converter theft is widespread across the country. Hybrid cars like the Toyota Prius are often attacked by thieves.

“Our Community Resource Officer just spoke to a victim who has a Toyota Prius. He found out about a panel covering your catalyst and preventing it from being stolen. It’s a good path we’re following across the church, “Kenny said.

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There is not much you can do to prevent a catalyst theft, especially if you are parking on the street. Kenny suggests parking in well-lit areas near the building entrances.