Security warned students to be on the lookout for potential catalytic converter theft following an incident Monday morning. A security officer on patrol noticed a jacked-up van in the Stowe Inn parking lot around 2:30 a.m.

“The thieves were actually in progress jacking the vehicle or underneath the vehicle when the security vehicle came patrolling through the lot,” said Director of Safety and Security Randy Nichols. “They saw it coming and they took off, and so by the time the officer got there they were gone.”

Security contacted the vehicle’s owner, who had it examined by a mechanic. The catalytic converter was still intact.

The incident followed a series of nine catalytic converter thefts this past weekend at the University of Maine, Orono. However, when Nichols reported the incident to Brunswick Police on Monday, there had not been any recent thefts in Brunswick.

According to Nichols, most of the vehicles targeted in Orono were Honda Accords produced between 2000 and 2002. The vehicle targeted at Bowdoin was also a Honda.

A catalytic converter is a part of a car’s exhaust system that catches pollutants. Converters also contain valuable metals, which make them a target for theft. A well-versed thief can cut a catalytic converter from a car in less than a minute using a power tool.

Nichols advised students and community members to park in well-lit, well-traveled areas and to be on alert for anything suspicious, like the sound of power tools at 2:30 in the morning.

“We ask students, faculty, and staff to just be aware of any unusual activity on campus,” he said.
Security will also be watching parking lots more closely.

“I think all of us working together, we can do a lot to safeguard the campus,” said Nichols.