A catalytic converter on a Saab 9-5. Ridge Meadows RCMP are reporting an increase in thefts in Maple Ridge.

Thieves stealing truck parts in Maple Ridge

Ridge Meadows RCMP are investigating a series of catalytic converter thefts

Thieves are crawling under pickups and stealing their catalytic converters.

Ridge Meadows RCMP are investigating a string of these thefts, similar to an outbreak of almost two years ago, in January 2012.

“At this time we do not have any suspects identified, and we’re asking our citizens to be aware of these thefts and to call in any suspicious persons they observe in their neighbourhoods,” said RCMP Cpl. Alanna Dunlop.

“Police are following leads indicating that these automotive parts are being sold to Lower Mainland metal dealers due to the high value of the metals inside catalytic converters.”

Catalytic converters are part of a vehicle’s exhaust system, and help control emissions. They contain platinum, palladium and other valuable metals. It can be sold for $100 at a scrap yard.

Having a garage replace the part would cost the former owner many times that amount, however.

The vehicles are often parked on the street or in driveways, and Toyota brand trucks have been targeted.

Dunlop said police do not believe the car parts are being sold locally, due to the Maple Ridge Scrap Metal bylaw.

It requires scrap yards to require identification of people selling such material, among other restrictions.

“However, community safety officers are working closely with bylaw officers, and are taking proactive steps to visit each local metal recycler to educate and inform about the recent thefts.”

The thefts are most often happening in the western areas of Maple Ridge.

Anyone with any information is asked to call Ridge Meadows RCMP at 604-463-6251, or if you wish to remain anonymous call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477, or leave a tip online at solvecrime.ca. Crime Stoppers will pay a reward of up to $2000 for information leading to an arrest and conviction.

Near silent night for fire departments

Stories about deadly fires and ongoing tips from firefighters on how to stop them are sinking in with the people of Pitt Meadows, this Christmas at least.

This year’s was a quiet one, fire chief Don Jolley said Friday. And that’s just the way firefighters want it.

“It was a near, silent night. It was very quiet – excellent.”

There were no fires from Christmas Eve to Boxing Day, possibly because the constant education about fire prevention, and the accounts of the disastrous consequences that follow a fire, are hitting home. And if that means the fire department doing more fire prevention than firefighting, Jolley says he’s fine with that.

Assistant fire chief Mark Smitton said there were no fires over the Christmas break although the department responded to several medical assist calls concerning chest pains.

“We’re getting fewer fires because people are paying more attention,” Smitton said Friday.

Technology though is making a big difference. The new LED Christmas lights draw less power than the old-fashioned Christmas bulbs which means people are no longer overloading their circuits, which can cause electrical fires. Similarly, the cool-running LEDs don’t set curtains or Christmas trees on fires, unlike the older bulbs that are hot to the touch. Most people now have gas rather than wood fireplaces, Smitton pointed out.

Firefighters also responded to three minor motor vehicle accidents, one on each day from Christmas Eve to Boxing Day.

– with files from Phil Melnychuk

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