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Rahway Police Department Taking Steps to Combat Wave of Catalytic Converter Thefts
By David Brighouse,
RAHWAY, NJ — When Rahway resident James Wysocki recently shared with TAPinto Rahway a recording of the catalytic converter cut out and stolen from one of his cars in the early morning hours of August 17, it became immediately clear how quickly the thieves operate. From the time their car was parked until the time it drove off, a total of two minutes had passed.
TAPinto Rahway reached out to the Rahway Police Department about this and other similar crimes in town. The Rahway PD acknowledged a "sharp increase in thefts of catalytic converters affecting our residents. This crime is on the rise locally and nationally."
TAPinto has written about these thefts before, both in Rahway and throughout the state. See here, here, and here.
According to Kelley Blue Book, "The catalytic converter is among the most valuable parts of your car. It’s a little larger than a toaster—easily carried by one person—and located underneath the rear of the car in easy reach, just ahead of the tailpipe. And it’s filled with valuable metals."
The Rahway PD added, "Catalytic converters are vehicle exhaust devices that convert toxic gases into safer emissions. The reason for the increase of catalytic converter thefts nationwide is because they contain precious metals such as platinum, palladium, and rhodium. The catalytic converter can be stolen in less than one minute, they lack identification details and that makes them harder to trace, and they can fetch more than $1,000 at a scrap yard."
In May, Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation, S249/A2210, "making it more difficult for bad actors to sell stolen catalytic converters to scrap yards and making it easier for law enforcement to identify, locate, and prosecute violators." Features of the law include tighter restrictions on the buying and selling of scrap metal, vehicle parts, and catalytic converters specifically.
Nonetheless, the very need for the law, along with Murphy's announcement back in November 2022 of a comprehensive plan to combat auto theft, highlights the statewide nature of the problem.
In Rahway, Police Director Nicholas Breiner and Chief Law Enforcement Officer Captain Shawn Ganley wish to assure the public that they are utilizing all the resources of the Rahway PD to make these crimes a top priority.
"There are," they informed TAPinto Rahway, "ongoing targeted enforcement patrols by marked and unmarked police vehicles, a public education campaign on social media and our website, and employment of the latest technology to track and identify suspect vehicles."
The Rahway Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Bureau, along with its law enforcement partners, continue to actively investigate these thefts. The Rahway PD is asking anyone with relevant information to contact the department at (732) 388-1900, contact the Union County Crime Stoppers Tips line at 908-654-TIPS (8477), or visit its website: www.uctip.org. Tips can be submitted anonymously.
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