Kutztown Borough Police report several cases of stolen catalytic converters, which are part of a car’s exhaust emissions system.
“Borough residents are urged to check their vehicles. Start it up. If your catalytic converter was cut out, there will be no exhaust coming from your tailpipe and the engine will be loud. If that’s the case, contact the Kutztown Police 610-683-3545,” posted Kutztown Borough Police on Facebook.
Kutztown Borough Police Chief Craig Summers reported that the number of cases in Kutztown are three as of Feb. 14.
“But there could be more that we do not know about because many times the victim does not know it until they start the car, if they don’t drive the car on a regular basis then they won’t know about it,” said Summers.
The thefts are occurring in other parts of Berks County. Summers said several cases have been reported in Reading and surrounding municipalities.
“The Berks County Auto Theft task force has adopted our cases. All the vehicles have been either Honda’s or Acura’s,” he said.
When asked what would make someone want to steal this car part, Summers said, “Apparently they have precious metals in them and have a fairly high resale value.”
Removing the catalytic converter does leave behind damage.
“Basically the entire exhaust system has to be replaced. One victim with an older car was totaled by the insurance company because it would cost about $4,000 to fix it,” said Summers.
Regarding safety concerns to residents, Summers said, “We do not know if the actors are violent so please call the police if you suspect something rather than approaching them yourself.”
“If you see someone under a car in a parking lot, they may or may not be working on it but to be safe call the police to check it out. Also get descriptions of the individuals (we believe there to be at least three actors) and any vehicle registrations if possible,” said Summers.