Gardaí seize 2,150 stolen catalytic converters in haul worth €2.2 million

Melted down catalytic converters also seized in morning raid

The car parts were seized in a raid on a business premises in Finglas, Dublin at 9.45am on Thursday. Photograph: An Garda Síochána

The car parts were seized in a raid on a business premises in Finglas, Dublin at 9.45am on Thursday. Photograph: An Garda Síochána

 

Gardaí have seized 2,150 catalytic converters and 14 drums of smelted catalytic converters, with a combined value of €2.2 million.

The car parts were seized in a raid on a business premises in Finglas, Dublin at 9.45am on Thursday.

Gardaí were assisted by personnel from Fingal County Council, a Customs and Revenue Officer and dog handler, and the National Trans Frontier Shipments Office (NTFSO).

The 2,150 catalytic converters have an estimated value of €1.2 million. The 14 drums of smelted catalytic converters contained 300 catalytic converters in powder form. The value of the smelted catalytic converters is estimated at €1 million.

Cash to the value of €74,240 was also seized during the search. All items seized are subject to a technical examination.

The search was conducted as part of the ongoing investigation into the theft of catalytic converters throughout the Dublin Metropolitan Region and surrounding regions.

During the course of this operation, a man aged in his 20s, was arrested for offences contrary to Section 17 of the Criminal Justice (Theft and Fraud Offences) Act, 2001. He was taken to Ballymun Garda Station where he was later charged. He is due to appear before the Criminal Courts of Justice on May 13th.

It is the third significant seizure of catalytic converters this year. Gardaí found 300 of them during a Dublin search operation last week. The haul was valued at about €150,000 and weighs in at 1,275kg.

In February 100 converters were found in another Garda raid on premises in Co Meath.

The theft of catalytic converters has grown exponentially in recent years. Figures obtained by The Irish Times from the Garda show that in 2017 just 79 catalytic converter thefts were recorded, increasing to 96 thefts in 2018.

However, in 2019 the crime increased exponentially in the Republic with 989 thefts recorded.

Last year some 1,300 catalytic converters were seized despite the pandemic. Some 75 per cent of the crimes last year were recorded in Dublin.

Thieves use very large car jacks to lift a car off the ground in seconds, and electronic tools to cut the catalytic converters from underneath the vehicles, before they flee in waiting cars.

The converters comprise a honeycomb structure, designed to cleanse engine fumes as they pass through the exhaust. The metal components – platinum, palladium and rhodium – have surged in value, meaning their scrap-metal worth is now high. There is also a market for converters to be used in other cars.

The theft of catalytic converters has become more popular in recent years as the move to a cashless society has meant fewer opportunities for thieves.

Each converter can be sold on the black market for between €300 and €600 and more for high-end brands.