Spree of catalytic converter thefts spreads to Wyoming

Thieves are after platinum

Cliff Buchan
News Editor

In the eyes of thieves, platinum is as good as gold. And thieves are finding ways to steal it and sell it.

A spree of thefts of catalytic converters from cars and trucks has now spread to Wyoming. The Forest Lake area has also experienced a rash of thefts reported by automobile dealerships.

Late in December and in early January, the Wyoming area has been hit, Chief of Police Paul Hoppe confirmed this week.

Hoppe said thieves are likely using a power saw to cut off the converters. Thieves are after the platinum contained in the catalytic converters. The converters are being passed off as scrap parts to recyclers, the chief said.

And it is almost as good as gold. The spot price for platinum was reported Monday at $1423 per ounce.

Hoppe said over the past two weeks, the Wyoming Police Department has received a half dozen theft reports from businesses in the Greenway business park that borders on US-8 just to the north and east of the Forest Lake border.

In the half dozen reports, some 15 converters have been stolen, Hoppe said.

He estimated the replacement value at between $500 and $1000. Vehicles won’t run without the catalytic converter.

In the most recent report from Friday, Jan. 6, Allegiance Auto Sales, 24245 Greenway Ave., told police four units had been stolen from vehicles during the overnight hours. Car dealerships and automotive related businesses in the commercial area have been targets, Hoppe said.

In Forest Lake, Capt. Greg Weiss said police here during the past week documented two more reports of catalytic converter thefts from vehicles at used car dealerships.

Party On

In post-dated news from the New Year’s Eve weekend, police in Forest Lake found business pretty much routine with the exception of two alcohol-related calls, Weiss said.

At 1:19 a.m. on Dec. 31, police were called to the 21000 block of Ideal Avenue N. to investigate a report of a house break-in that was in progress. At the scene, police arrested a juvenile male who told officers he thought he was attempting to enter a fish house and did not realize he was at the door of a home.

He was ticketed for a curfew violation, underage consumption of alcohol, disorderly conduct and criminal damage to property. Weiss said the juvenile was taken to the Dakota County Detox Center in Hastings.

About the same time as the Ideal Avenue incident, Weiss said police were called to investigate a loud party on the ice in the area of July Avenue and 238th Street. Weiss said police broke up the gathering and handed out 11 underage drinking citations to juveniles from Forest Lake, Wyoming, Chisago City, Marine on St. Croix and Columbus.

Weiss said the light snowfall on the evening of Dec. 31 into the morning hours of Jan. 1 resulted in a number of vehicle road incidents, but no serious crashes nor injuries were documented.