Joanne Fleming Ruholl recently started up her vehicle and noticed something didn’t sound right.
“I parked my car behind my house on a Saturday and when I went to leave on a Sunday it sounded like it didn’t have a muffler. I didn’t know what it was,” said the Red Deer resident, who lives in the West Park neighbourhood.
“My friend knew what it was right away. I phoned him so he could hear it … and he said, ‘Someone stole your catalytic converter.”
Catalytic converters are part of a vehicle’s exhaust system. The part is responsible for converting emissions and pollutants from the vehicle’s exhaust before it reaches the muffler. These harmful emissions include hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides.
She said her vehicle “sounded like a tractor” without the catalytic converter. Her vehicle was insured, but if it wasn’t, replacing the part would have cost more than $2,000.
“Now I park in front of my home instead of behind the house because I’m worried they’re going to come back and take it again,” said Fleming Ruholl.
After posting about the catalytic converter theft on Facebook, a number of people commented on the post, saying they were victims of this type of crime as well, Fleming Ruholl said.
Earlier this year, the Government of Alberta made amendments to the Scrap Dealers and Recyclers Identification Act, which intends to protect people against metal theft by implementing duties for scrap metal dealers and recyclers when they purchase or receive scrap metal.
The act, which was originally proclaimed in November 2019, also enables law enforcement to conduct compliance investigations and establishes penalties or contraventions of the act.
Catalytic converters are included within the definition of “scrap metal,” according to the government’s website.
RCMP Staff Sgt. Jay Peden said reducing property crime was identified as a top priority in the Red Deer policing plan.
“This new legislation allows the (Red Deer) RCMP to work with the scrap metal businesses to identify those stealing high-value metal, which is a common source of property crime,” Peden said.
“The database will increase accountability for the items scrap dealers accept, as well as help us identify offenders.”