LUBBOCK, Texas — Police have noticed an increase number of reports for missing car parts over the past few months.
According to police, thieves are going after car catalytic converters.
“Our investigators are seeing an increase over the last few months, but the most recent spike is over the last month or two,” said Allison Matherly, public information officer for the Lubbock Police Department.
Catalytic converters are part of a car’s exhaust system. They help remove harmful admissions but contain three precious metals–platinum, palladium and rhodium. Two of them are currently worth more than gold.
The police said bigger vehicles or work vans are more vulnerable because they are often left at businesses overnight or over the weekend.
“A larger truck where there is a lot of space where someone can crawl underneath it. They take a power saw, and they cut out the catalytic converter,” said Matherly.
While police have only been made aware of this happening this past month, mechanics said it’s been occurring for months.
“Since August of last year, people have been stealing catalytic converters. The precious metals inside the converters are pretty high right now. Which is motivating people to start stealing them,” said a local mechanic.
The problem is on the rise, but police said some measures could help deter criminals.
“What we encourage is make sure your vehicle is either in a garage if you’re in a residential area, or a well-lit area…cameras are always a great option as well,” said Matherly.