Kudos to the Penobscot County Sheriff's Department on their recent bust!

It's been known for quite few months now that thieves in the area had been crawling underneath vehicles and ripping off catalytic convertors. A catalytic convertor is the big shiny metal object located within the middle of your car's exhaust system, and it can then be sold for cash to junk and salvage yards because of a precious metal that it contains.

Yesterday, the Penobscot County Sheriff's Deputies arrested three alleged crooks and charged them with felony theft for stealing catalytic convertors just this week in the Howland area. Charged with the crimes are Skye Theriault, Danielle Demeritt, and Christopher McGinn, all from Howland. They soon will be making an appearance at Bangor Superior Court, according to a Facebook post by the Penobscot Sheriff's Department.

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So let's revisit what a catalytic convertor is and how to protect the one that's on your vehicle from being stolen.

A catalytic converter is part of your vehicle's exhaust system, and it turns harmful pollutants within the engine's exhaust into harmless gas.  Like we mentioned above, if you look underneath your car or truck it's the good-sized silver object on the exhaust system, about halfway between the engine itself and the muffler.

Low life thieves who steal catalytic converters usually will go first for vehicles that stand high off the ground, like a truck or an SUV.  That way they have room to work, and fast.  Thieves will typically use a wrench and a saw.

How will you know if the catalytic converter has been stolen from your vehicle?  It's pretty simple.  When you start your car it's going to be MUCH louder than usual.  There's no way that you'll miss it.

Here are a few tips from the professionals:

  • Thieves take notice of vehicles that are parked in one stationary place for extended periods of time, like at work, in a shopping mall, or in a public parking lot.  Try to park in well lit places and close to a door that's used often.
  • Needless to say, if you have a garage then park inside of it, with the door closed at night.
  • Some folks in high risk areas actually have the catalytic converter welded to the frame of the vehicle making it very hard to remove, and then scratch the vehicle's VIN # on it, so that local dealers can take notice.
  • Make sure that your vehicle's alarm system is calibrated to detect the vibration of a powered saw cutting through the exhaust pipe. Most are already. If not, this may be a simple thing for your dealer to perform during your vehicle's next oil change.

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