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St. Paul Police seeing spike in catalytic converter thefts

June 01, 2019 07:12 PM

There's been a spike in a costly crime in St. Paul. Criminals are targeting dozens of SUVs and trucks, which are easy to get underneath, and cutting out the catalytic converter.

It happens in a matter of minutes.

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“It doesn’t take long so it's a crime of opportunity,” said Steve Linders, with the St. Paul Police Department.

The part is sold for the precious metals inside, including platinum. According to a mechanic, the converters sell for $30 to $150.

In some cases, it can cost vehicle owner $1,500 to replace.

Just three days ago, police officers were called to Victoria St. N near Como Park for a report someone was tampering with a vehicle.

“When [officers] walked up the suspects' vehicle, they saw not one but two catalytic converters in the trunk,” said Linders. “It's a big problem and it's been a growing problem over the last month.”


More from KSTP:

Minneapolis Police investigating string of home burglaries


St. Paul Police have received 40 reports of stolen converters in the last 30 days. During the same timeframe of 2018, there were only eight reports.

“If we can figure out how to reduce the payout on the back end, then I think that would have an impact on the theft that happens on the front end,” said Amy Brendmoen, the City Council president. “So we're looking at different ways to limit how many catalytic converters can be taken from one individual, to require an I.D., to require VIN numbers, anything that will work.”

Brendmoen also said she’s talking with the mayors of Roseville and Maplewood.

“We don’t want to try to solve a problem in St. Paul and just push it to a first ring suburb, so this could end up being something where we need to take a more regional, or even statewide, approach to solving the problem,” she said.

The pair caught stealing converters on Victoria St. N on Wednesday were booked into the Ramsey County Jail for several charges, including criminal damage to property, which is a felony.

“If you see something suspicious, call 911 right away,” said Linders. “Be good neighbors, talk to one another and keep an eye out on your streets.”

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Callan Gray

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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