Catalytic converter thefts spike in Barrie
Theft of catalytic converters continues to be a major issue in Ontario, including Barrie.
Last week, multiple Barrie businesses saw catalytic converters stolen off vehicles parked overnight.
"It's very frustrating. Late last year, we saw a number of catalytic converter thefts taking place in our community. Winter arrives, and they seem to stop. The snow starts to melt, and we are right back at it again," said Peter Leon, Barrie Police Services.
As the weather turns and business increases, Tim Simpson of T. Simpson Roofing Ltd. in Barrie said he's feeling the effects, with wait times for a replacement converter being estimated at three to six weeks.
"I have a responsibility to my customers. We have timelines to deliver products and to install services, and the trucks are a key component in delivering our services," said Simpson.
Simpson added luckily one of his trucks was in the shop when two of his vehicles had their converters cut off. However, that vehicle was also robbed the first night it returned. With three of four trucks out of commission for a small business, Simpson is worried about losing customers and employees.
"I have to try and keep my guys working as much as possible in a difficult time; otherwise, I run the risk of losing them, and employees in construction are very difficult to replace," he said.
Simpson said he will now be taking extra security measures. "Rebar welded to the frames of the truck and around the catalytic converter to make it more difficult for any future theft or possible theft. I've also been told that a good thing is to have them painted."
Police say the paint helps mark the converters and makes them less desirable on the resale market. Barrie police said, unfortunately, people need to take more precautions, and buyers need to ask more questions.
"These are not just individuals that are gathering them up and bringing them in. These are persons that are taking advantage of other people and compromising other people's livelihoods and businesses," said Leon.
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