A picture from a recent theft on Illinois Ave. was posted to Facebook. (Facebook)

SPPD: Catalytic converter thefts on the rise

By Brandi Makuski

The Stevens Point Police Department is asking residents to safeguard their vehicles in the wake of a series of catalytic converter thefts.

Nine thefts have been reported in March alone—a “significant increase,” according to Lt. Dana Williams.

A catalytic converter is an exhaust emission control device that reduces toxic gases and pollutants in the exhaust gas, resulting in less-toxic pollutants from the vehicle.

Williams said that the majority of thefts seem to target the Toyota Prius, though other vehicles have also been targeted.

“When these thefts occur, it happens rather fast, it only takes a couple of minutes,” Williams said in a press release on Monday. “We believe the people responsible are working in a team of two—one uses a jack to lift up the vehicle and cut off the catalytic converter and the other is a lookout.”

Police are asking motorists to be alert and watch out for unfamiliar vehicles that drive by their residences multiple times a day. Motorists should also try to park their vehicles in a garage or a well-lit area, if possible.

“If you do fall victim to a theft, try to limit walking around the vehicle and call the police, so we can collect as much evidence as possible,” Williams said.

Thefts should be reported to the SPPD at 715.346.1501.