Theft of catalytic converters and other car parts has skyrocketed this year | Fairfax County

 Fairfax Police Office warns residents to not depart valuables in motor vehicles

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A recent vehicle split-in on the Lee Hwy Services Highway close to Paddington Lane in

Centreville where by airbags had been stolen.

Tbelow has been a steep maximize in motor vehicle-connected thefts and thefts from automobiles in Fairfax County this 12 months. Given that January, there have been a overall of 393 automobile elements stolen and 864 items stolen from vehicles in Fairfax County. 

Amongst the merchandise stolen includes airbags, tires, rims, and catalytic converters. Unlocked vehicles with unsecured superior-valued objects are also targets for criminals.

“We know that this is a crime of opportunity,” claimed Fairfax County Police Section (FCPD) Sgt. Lance Hamilton.

According to Hamilton, these thefts have also been centered all-around areas with superior volumes of cars such as parking lots, condominium complexes, and townhome subdivisions. 

Previously this calendar year, FCPD uploaded a online video on Fb in hopes of warning residents of catalytic converter thefts. 

In the video clip, 2nd Lt. James Curry, FCPD Community Affairs, in depth a current arrest produced by officers in which three gentlemen were being noticed on safety cameras “going in in between motor vehicles with a vehicle jack.” 

The a few adult males have been then pursued by law enforcement in a superior-velocity auto chase just before they crashed their auto and fled on foot. Shortly following, two of the 3 men were being arrested by officers. 

Fairfax County is not the only county in Virginia that has skilled an uptick in motor automobile crimes. Through Virginia, from Richmond to Newport News, an enhance in motor vehicle-associated thefts prompted Virginia lawmakers to make new legislation bordering the theft of catalytic converters and other auto pieces that would make the automobile inoperable. 

“Our figures for theft of motor vehicle components have substantially improved about the past pair of yrs:  135 in 2020, 123 in 2021, and now 416 in 2022,” mentioned Hamilton. “Our Command Team satisfies on a weekly foundation to tackle this raise as a result of proactive patrol.  These raises are not unique to Fairfax County.” 

On April 11, Governor Youngkin signed into legislation both equally HB 740 and SB 729, which are identical payments aimed at stopping the theft of catalytic converters.

The charges make theft of a catalytic converter a Course 6 Felony, which is punishable by up to five a long time in jail, and demands that scrap steel purchasers hold records on buys involving catalytic converters for two decades. 

Prior to these legislation remaining handed by Youngkin, these kinds of crimes were being only course 1 misdemeanors. 

In accordance to the National Insurance policies Criminal offense Bureau (NICB), the theft of catalytic converters in distinct has elevated dramatically for the duration of the pandemic. In 2018, there were only 1,298 reported situations of catalytic converters getting stolen. In 2020, the range jumped to 14,433 promises of theft.  

Catalytic converters have become a lot more beneficial — and as a result a focus on for theft — due to the fact the get started of the pandemic because of the metals that are utilised to make them.

“Our Significant Crimes detectives, in collaboration with the station amount Criminal Investigation Division detectives, are normally operating diligently to clear up these crimes,” reported Hamilton. 

To shield on your own and your automobile from these styles of thefts, FCPD recommends not leaving useful goods in your automobile overnight, parking in very well-lit spots, and locking your car or truck doorways when leaving your auto. 

Proactive neighborhood policing by patrol officers in the late night and early morning has also been located to lessen these styles of thefts from automobiles, according to Hamilton. 

For catalytic converters, owners could glimpse into getting after-market place devices that are designed to make it harder for the part to be stolen. Portray or etching your VIN quantity into the converter is one more alternative advised by FCPD. 

“One unlocked automobile gives criminals entry to your individual belongings, your dwelling and they can even steal your auto,” reported Sgt. Tara Gerhard, of FCPD’s Community Affairs Bureau in a movie posted to Fb on March 5. 

Because of to this, Gerhard advisable not leaving home keys, motor vehicle keys, or garage door openers in your car or truck unattended. Furthermore, firearms must never ever be remaining unattended in your car as nicely. 

“Do your section in stopping criminal offense,” claimed Gerhard. 

If you see any suspicious action, call the FCPD non-emergency range at 703-691-2131.