27 arrests following police project targeting catalytic converter thefts

The two-week effort, dubbed Project Garfield, also led to 68 criminal charges.

Police remind people to park in well-lit areas

Hamilton police say catalytic converters are prized for their value in scrap metal, though the cost of the damage caused by their removal often outweighs the part itself. (Hamilton Police Service)

Twenty-seven people have been arrested and 68 criminal charges laid following a two-week project by Hamilton police targeting catalytic converter thefts.

The effort, dubbed Project Garfield, also led to one warrant being executed and 45 provincial offence notices being issued, according to investigators.

Police describe the thefts as a "persistent issue." In fact, recent media releases point to at least 52 cases of catalytic converter thefts in Burlington and another 66 in Hamilton in recent months.

Members of the Hamilton high enforcement action team and break, enter, auto theft and robbery unit, as well as patrol officers and crime managers, began Project Garfield in June. It focused on "chronic offenders" and aimed to identify and arrest suspects involved in the thefts as well as act as a preventative tool that included education.

Police say the suspects they arrested were not working together and noted many of them were charged with failing to comply with bail conditions connected to property crimes.

"Catalytic converters are typically targeted for their value in scrap metals," the service explained in a media release.

"The value of the damage caused in the removal of this exhaust component generally exceeds that of the part itself."

Police are reminding people to take the following steps to protect their vehicles:

  • Park in well-lit areas.
  • Park closer to pedestrian or vehicle traffic so your vehicle is not isolated.
  • When possible, park in areas that have video surveillance.