Police warn catalytic converter, DPF thefts on the rise

Police have warned thefts of diesel particulate filters (DPFs) and catalytic converters are on the rise, after a series of thefts in Brisbane earlier this month.

Overnight on Sunday, June 2, DPFs were stolen from Isuzu trucks parked in the industrial regions of Pinkenba and Eagle Farm.

The North Brisbane Crime Prevention Unit said thieves targeted vehicles parked on the street or in open car parks, coming after business hours with tools such as cordless saws to remove the parts.

DPFs and catalytic converters are exhaust emission control devices that reduce toxic gases and pollutants, and contain valuable metals like palladium, platinum and rhodium – the latter of which is worth twice as much as gold.

North Brisbane police are increasing their patrols based on intelligence, and have advised the public to report any suspicious behaviour to Policelink, particularly around car dealerships.

If you see suspicious behaviour, don’t approach the offenders. Instead, contact police immediately.

Police have also shared some security measures to deter thefts:

  • Use off-street parking, preferably putting your vehicle behind a locked gate or garage door
  • Apply bright paint to your catalytic converter and engrave the vehicle registration number or VIN onto the painted surface
  • Don’t leave vehicles raised on a ramp or display stand
  • Install an alarm in your vehicle
  • Display vehicles in publicly accessible areas that are well illuminated and covered by CCTV surveillance

It isn’t just Queensland where these thefts are occurring, with police in other states like Victoria also reporting an increase.

The Victorian Automotive Chamber of Commerce warned last year there needed to be work done to stop dodgy recyclers from fuelling this black market.

“It’s not just the theft, it’s that there’s somebody saying, ‘You can steal it and I’ll pay you for it’” said David Dowsey, head of marketing and communications for the Victorian Automotive Chamber of Commerce.

“If you cut off the sales channel, the robbers will have nothing to sell, or certainly they’ll have less opportunity to sell it and at a lower price, and they’ll move on to something else and the problem to some degree will go away.”

Mr Dowsey said the types of recycling outfits that buy stolen property are also involved in other kinds of theft and illegal activity.

The solution, he suggested, is more oversight of these types of “dodgy” operations.

“There needs to be some kind of government body that just does spot inspections of these places. Because they’re so large, they’re almost impossible to hide,” said Mr Dowsey.

“The problem is there to be seen, and the government in each state and territory has to get involved in stamping these sorts of places out because there’s other types of theft that goes through those operations.”

MORE: Crackdown on dodgy recyclers could cut catalytic converter thefts

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