COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) – Catalytic converter thefts continue to plague the country. The devices control car emissions, and thieves are after the precious metals inside.
In Colorado Springs, police report converter thefts increased by more than 3,400 percent between 2019 and 2020. So far in 2021, more converters have been reported stolen than the previous two years combined.
11 News first told the community about the surge in catalytic converter thefts in early 2021 when Silver Key Senior Services reported thieves had stolen seven of its vehicles’ converters in the span of just three months. The nonprofit supports seniors in the Pikes Peak region, offering transportation, meal delivery, and a host of other services.
“This is not a victimless crime,” said Derek Wilson, Silver Key’s chief strategy officer, in early 2021. “There are people that lives are affected and impacted greatly by them not being able to get their ride that they need.”
Following 11 News’ report, Wilson said Silver Key received a flood of community donations.
“People reached out almost immediately,” he said. “We had donors come out and offer to help us with funding to get additional security measures.”
Those measures included a new fence so the nonprofit’s vehicles could be locked up each night, more security cameras and improved lighting.
“It’s peace of mind,” Wilson said. “It’s comforting to know that when we leave at the end of the day, that we don’t come in the next morning and our drivers and our fleet manager doesn’t find that, you know, vehicles have been vandalized and/or things stolen off of them.”
Thank you to two special sponsors– @TheFaricyBoys and Taylor Fence Company. You both were an integral part of helping to secure the Silver Key fleet of vehicles that were routinely getting vandalized. #SilverKeySponsor #ThankYou #COSseniors pic.twitter.com/kEBBYGFqJp
— Silver Key Senior Services (@SilverKeyCOS) July 2, 2021
Unfortunately, while crews were still building the fence, Wilson said thieves hit Silver Key’s vehicles again.
“We had three more converters stolen, and one of the vehicles … the gas line was cut, and the gas was siphoned out,” he said. “So it was very timely and appropriate that we got this fence.”
Wilson said they haven’t had any other problems since the fence was fully installed.
“Because of the community support, we were able to continue services without kind of skipping a beat,” he said.
Silver Key said it is also exploring AAA’s new program to help prevent thieves from stealing catalytic converters.
AAA reports Colorado is the first state in the country to add a non-removable etched ID number onto catalytic converters, so law enforcement agencies can track the ID numbers if the converter is stolen. The program is free for anyone who lives in Colorado. Find out more information about the program here.
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