Crime Watch

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Flicks Fix

Someone stole a woman's wallet in a movie theater. At 7 PM on Saturday, January 25, a 19-year-old woman was attending a movie in a theater on Broadway when she realized that her wallet was missing. Unauthorized charges turned up later on her credit cards.

MacBook Woe

A woman's laptop was taken from a church. At 4 PM on Sunday, January 26, a 30-year-old woman left her MacBook Pro laptop unattended in the office of a church on West 71st Street. When she returned two hours later, her laptop was missing. The machine was valued at $2,000.

Purloining Arts

At 4 PM on Wednesday, January 22, an 18-year-old female student at a performing arts high school on Amsterdam Avenue discovered that her wallet had been stolen off a locker-room counter. Fortunately, she had only one credit card in her wallet, and no unauthorized charges turned up.

You Lay, You Pay

A woman's bag was stolen in a coffee shop. At 7 PM on Wednesday, January 22, a 22-year-old woman laid her bag down in a popular chain coffeehouse on Columbus Avenue. When she looked for her bag later, she found that it was missing. Its contents included an iPhone and credit cards, making a total value of $1,400 stolen.

Shocking Theft

Electrotherapy equipment was removed from a vehicle in a parking garage. On Monday, January 27, an unknown perpetrator stole $15,000 of Amrex therapy equipment from a vehicle parked in a garage on West 59th Street.

Catalytic Converter Theft on the Rise

The catalytic converter is an emissions-control device in cars that contains precious metals that act as catalysts. When hot exhaust enters the converter, a chemical reaction occurs that renders toxic gases, like carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons, into less harmful emissions. With the price of precious metals skyrocketing, thieves are helping themselves to catalytic converters that contain enough platinum, palladium, or rhodium to make it worth the risk to cut it from the underbelly of your vehicle. You might become aware that your catalytic converter has been stolen when your vehicle starts with a gravelly roar.

Stolen catalytic converters are sold to scrap yards for around $100 to $150, but the cost to your business could be much bigger. There's the hassle of a vehicle that can't be safely driven, as well as the expense of having it towed to a local repair shop and getting the part replaced.

What Do Thieves Look For?

Catalytic converter thefts typically happen to vehicles that are parked for prolonged periods in large lots, like shopping centers, mass-transit commuter lots, or company parking lots.

Vehicles that sit higher from the ground - like trucks, pick-ups, and SUVs - are particularly vulnerable to catalytic converter theft, because thieves can slide underneath without having to jack up the vehicle to gain access to the converter. With just a few cuts of a battery-powered saw, the catalytic converter can be stolen in less than a minute.

Preventing Catalytic Converter Theft

To combat catalytic converter thefts, a number of states have passed laws tightening the restrictions on metal scrap dealers. n many cases, dealers are required to verify the seller's identity with a photo ID and maintain complete records of sellers for 5 years.

To prevent catalytic converter theft, use common sense and follow these tips:

?Always park in well-lighted areas

?At shopping centers and other similar parking lots, park close to the entrance of the building or near the access road where there's a lot of traffic

?If you own or work at a business or factory, park within a fenced area that's busy during the day and secured at night

?Engrave your license plate number on the converter to make it traceable

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