String of catalytic converter thefts reported this past week

A string of catalytic converter thefts have been reported in the Riverhead area over the past week, Riverhead Town police said.

About 16 catalytic converters were reported missing from vehicles at Riverhead Bay Motors last Tuesday, according to a report.

The converters were valued at $13,000, police said.

Additional converters were reported stolen from vehicles Saturday afternoon at J.R.’s Steakhouse and at a dental office on Route 25A Sunday afternoon, police said. Monday afternoon a converter was reported stolen from a vehicle parked at the Lobster Roll on Sound Avenue, police said.

“With the right tool you can cut it out in five minutes,” said John Gennaro, manager at Phil’s Auto and Truck Repair in Riverhead.

Mr. Gennaro said the converters, which help control a vehicle’s emission, are often stolen from SUVs because they are high off the ground and easier to get under.

“They can slide under there and go to town,” he said. “They zip the thing right out.”

Depending on the converter, its worth in scrap metal varies from $20 to more than $300, he said. To replace a converter, car owners can spend anywhere from $100 up to $1,500 or $1,800, he said.

“That’s not good news,” he said.

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Riverhead Police Car