Theft of catalytic converters from cars ‘quite common’

Victim whose car was targeted twice says gardaí were unable to find the thieves

Catalytic converter theft: Jackey Chai’s car was targeted by thieves twice in the last few months. His mechanic told him  has been getting a lot of calls about the same thing since last December. Photograph: iStock

Catalytic converter theft: Jackey Chai’s car was targeted by thieves twice in the last few months. His mechanic told him has been getting a lot of calls about the same thing since last December. Photograph: iStock

 

Catalytic converter thieves have targeted Jackey Chai’s Toyota Prius twice in the last few months – both times in daylight in front of his office in south Dublin.

The last time – at the end of April – a colleague at Explorium in Sandyford saw Chai’s car jacked up, one man underneath, another wielding a bar and acting as a lookout.

It was about 5:30pm.

“She was terrified,” says Chai (31), a computer engineer who lives in Ashtown, north Dublin.

“I’m glad she did the right thing – not to confront them,” he says. “You’d never know what they would do. She just quietly walked to her car and then called the reception. All the staff ran out, but they had gotten away at that stage.”

His colleague knew exactly what the two men – who were travelling in a Ford Focus – were at. The same thing had happened weeks before in the same car park.

They stole a catalytic converter from another car that time and were working on Chai’s 2008 model but got spooked by a passerby. They got what they came for the second time, though.

The car park is not a multistorey or underground; it is wide open and in front of Explorium’s restaurant. Chai suspects the entire operation happened in less than five minutes.

CCTV footage

“We called the guards – they came and took some CCTV footage and that was about it. I’d say after maybe a month, they contacted me to say ‘case closed’ , nothing has been found,” he says.

In the meantime, Chai had called his insurer who, he said, recommended he did not claim against his policy as he would have to pay a €300 excess and would lose his no-claims bonus, putting his insurance bills up several hundred euro a year.

Out of his own pocket, he paid the €1,100 bill for a replacement catalytic converter.

His mechanic told him he had been getting a lot of calls about the same thing since last December.

“He told me one of his customers had a catalytic converter stolen from their car when it was parked inside Dundrum Town Centre car park. That’s a very secure car park. He told me it is quite common – he gets a lot business from it.”

Chai says he was upset at the money he had to pay out but also the inability of gardaí to do anything about it.