Police say trucks and larger SUVs are at most risk of having a catalytic converter stolen.By Ross Guidotti

WESTMORELAND COUNTY (KDKA) — State police say catalytic converters are once again being stolen from people’s cars.

Police say it is because precious metal prices are up.

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“It filters what’s coming out of the exhaust,” said Donnie Zappone of Zappone’s Automotive Repair.

But it is what’s inside these things that are driving some people to steal them from vehicles. Recently, a Delmont RV dealer found 35 vehicles on the lot were missing catalytic converters.

“They must have a couple of people with them,” Zappone said.

“The actual price of the precious metals inside the converter do go up and down. When the price is up, you’re going to see a lot more people stealing them,” he added.

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Metals rhodium, palladium and platinum are all inside a catalytic converter.

So how do thieves manage to get these catalytic converters off of vehicles? They use a saw.

“If you can get under them without having to lift or jack the vehicle up, you can have them off pretty fast with a Sawzall,” Zappone said.

Law enforcement said thieves take the stolen catalytic converters to scrap yards and can get up to $300 for each. The person whose vehicle is now missing a catalytic converter is then out of a lot of money for a replacement.

“New ones are around $400, and some are even $1,200 to $1,500, if not more,” Zappone said.

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Police say trucks and larger SUVs are at most risk of having a catalytic converter stolen.