Police investigate string of catalytic converter thefts in Haverford Township

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Wednesday, February 21, 2024
Police investigate string of catalytic converter thefts in Delco
Police investigate string of catalytic converter thefts in Haverford Township

HAVERFORD TWP., Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Police in Haverford Township, Delaware County are investigating after a string of catalytic converter thefts in the area.

Eight thefts were reported over two days, February 12 and 13, on Strathmore, Llandaff, Kenmore, Pembroke, Avon, and Sagamore roads and Belmont Avenue. Police say the crimes occurred between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m.

"We've made multiple arrests just as our surrounding neighbor police departments have. We make a dent in it and it comes back again," said Haverford Township Police Chief John Viola.

Thieves hit Ziggy Scrocki's block on February 12.

"Of course, you are not happy first of all and you are concerned second," said Scrocki of Havertown.

Viola says thieves are after the precious metals and a quick payday and the issue is widespread.

On Tuesday, police in Hamilton Township, New Jersey announced the arrest of three men from New York. They say they found 20 catalytic converters in the suspects' vehicle.

"They're sold to body shops and junkyards and they resell them somewhere else, so there's money involved there and it's a crime of opportunity," Viola said.

In June of last year, the Bucks County District Attorney also charged 11 people and a Philadelphia towing company in a multi-million dollar catalytic converter theft ring.

Steve Devanney is the manager at Rapco Automotive on Township Line Road in Delaware County. He says it doesn't take long for a thief to steal a catalytic converter from under your car. They use a tool called a salzall and can be finished in around 30 seconds.

Devanney says a year or so ago he'd repair multiple catalytic converters every week, but today it's about one or two a month. The crime may be down but, as evidenced by thefts just last week, it hasn't gone away.

Devaney says there is a way you can prevent yourself from becoming a victim.

"Some manufacturers make like a shield you can put underneath, like a guard for the converters, and we've installed a couple," Devanney said.

Both Devanney and police say some cars seem to be targeted more than others, and that includes Mitsubishis, Hondas, Acuras, Volkswagens, and the Toyota Prius.