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A Kennebecasis Regional Police Force cruiser. Image: Staff photo

Police investigate copper wire, catalytic converter thefts

By Brad Perry Mar 16, 2023 | 5:23 AM

The Kennebecasis Regional Police Force has seen a spike in copper wire and catalytic converter thefts.

Const. Dylan Lisson said it is something the police force has been dealing with for the past several months.

“Individuals have been stealing copper wire from different places, everything from power stations to worksites and pulling them right from power poles,” Lisson said in a recent interview.

“As far as catalytic converters, it’s kind of random in itself. They’re just cutting catalytic converters off parked vehicles, usually vehicles that have been sitting a while.”

Lisson said these thefts cause great inconvenience and monetary loss to residents and businesses.

In some cases, he said, the theft of copper wire can create a public safety risk in the community.

“Just recently, we had a case where lines to emergency services were disrupted and it was tracked back to copper wire or wire theft,” Lisson said in a recent interview.

Thefts present unique challenges

Officers are doing their best to investigate these thefts, he said, but they present unique challenges from other thefts.

For example, the remoteness of power substations in the community make it harder for officers to proactively police.

In the case of catalytic converters, Lisson said they often do not know when the parts are stolen, making it harder to investigate.

“Given the randomness of both location and time and knowing that it’s going on all over the province, it’s hard to say that they’re definitely linked as far as the individuals doing it,” he said.

“We certainly think there’s a link as to where these catalytic converters and the metals themselves are ending up. Those investigations are still ongoing.”

Optimism around new legislation

Lisson said he hopes new legislation introduced by the province will help officers with their investigations.

The new legislation requires salvage dealers to stop paying cash for copper wire and catalytic converters.

In addition, they have to collect more info when buying those items, including a government-issued ID of the seller, and the registration information of the car from which the catalytic converter originated.

“The further we get down the road investigating these things, we’ll find our what more we need and I’m sure the provincial government and whoever else will start tightening up even more when we know what we don’t know,” said Lisson.

The Kennebecasis Valley Crime Stoppers is offering a $1,000 reward to anyone who has information that leads to the arrest of the person or persons responsible.

The reward is also being offered to anyone with information that leads to the identity and arrest of those who are purchasing or facilitating the sale of the stolen material.

“The public is our biggest tool as far as seeing things that don’t fit and calling,” said Lisson.


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