Police arrest Bernardston man found with catalytic converters

  • The Northampton Police Department arrested a 27-year-old man found with catalytic converters and tools in his car on Friday. Northampton Police Department

Staff Writer
Published: 4/30/2021 4:32:51 PM

NORTHAMPTON — A 27-year-old Bernardston man was arrested early Friday by police after he was found to be in possession of several catalytic converters and tools in his car at Lia Honda on King Street, according to Northampton police.

Thefts of catalytic converters have been on the rise. Northampton Police Capt. Victor Caputo said he didn’t have exact figures available on such thefts but that “it’s been an ongoing issue in the city and in the region.”

Kyle Wilder was scheduled to be arraigned Friday in Northampton District Court on charges of receiving stolen property and a license plate violation.

While conducting a property check at Lia Honda on Friday at around 2:30 a.m., police observed a “suspicious vehicle” and a man inside the car was laying down, according to Northampton police. The car was parked in the opposite direction from the other cars in the lot, and when police ran the license plate, they found it was registered to a pickup, not the vehicle Wilder was in, Caputo said. Police found catalytic converters and tools in the car.

“We have seen an increase in catalytic converters as well as rim thefts,” Caputo said, noting that a department detective assigned to a regional working group is looking into the thefts and where the converters might be going.

Nationwide, thefts of converters — which contain precious metals, such as platinum, palladium or rhodium — have increased sharply since March 2020, according to National Insurance Crime Bureau data. In the last five years, the price of palladium has quadrupled and it is worth between $2,000 and $2,500 an ounce, while rhodium prices have increased by 3,000% to more than $20,000 per ounce, The New York Times reported.

Greta Jochem can be reached at gjochem@gazettenet.com.

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