Recognize this SUV?: Stamford police ask for help solving recent catalytic converter thefts

STAMFORD — Investigators are asking for the public’s help tracking down leads on the individuals behind a spate of catalytic converter thefts in Stamford over the past week.

Sgt. Sean Scanlan, supervisor of the Stamford Property Crimes Unit, said there have been over 25 catalytic converter thefts in Stamford.

The alleged thieves were caught on camera Monday morning as they struck box trucks and vans in the commercial sector along the upper part of Hope Street, according to Scanlan.

Scanlan said the individuals in question were operating out of a dark-colored Acura MDX SUV with New Jersey plates.

“It appears one person acts as a lookout while others commit the act,” he said.

While investigators are working with law enforcement officials around the state and in Westchester County, Scanlan said the department does not have “any real discernible leads” at the moment.

“We welcome anything from citizens who may have seen something. If you see something that doesn’t look right, we can’t stress enough that you should reach out to police,” he added.

Scanlan said the rise in catalytic converter thefts is part of a “nationwide epidemic” driving by skyrocketing prices for precious metal like platinum, or platinum-like material such as palladium or rhodium, that are used in the devices, which is used to control emissions.

Last year, the price of palladium quintupled to hit a record of $2,875 — up from the $500 an ounce it garnered five years ago, according to the New York Times. Over that same period, rhodium prices have grown over 3,000 percent from about $640 an ounce five years ago to a record $21,900 an ounce this year, roughly 12 times the price of gold, the Times reported in February.

Anyone who may have information regarding the recent catalytic converter thefts is asked to contact the Property Crime Unit at 203-977-4407.