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The metro area including the city of Apple Valley continues to see thefts of catalytic converters from vehicles, the Apple Valley Police Department reported on March 31.

Some suspects have been arrested for these thefts but it is believed there are several groups perpetrating the crime so particular attention should be paid to vehicles that are left unattended for long periods of time, especially overnight. Catalytic converters are made of precious metals and can be sold to dealers for up to $250 each, they have no serial numbers or identifying markings so are virtually untraceable and are easy to remove from vehicles which make them desirable to thieves, the department said.

The perpetrators, usually working in groups of two to three people, will typically pull up next to the target vehicle, jack it up a bit to make it easier to slide under and access the part, then cut the catalytic converter with a power tool. The whole process only takes a few minutes to complete. The thefts have been reported as occurring during daytime and overnight hours.

The department reminded the public to take precautions to prevent this type of theft including watching for suspicious activity around parked vehicles; listening for the sound of grinding metal; parking vehicles inside a garage when available; parking close to the building where the vehicle can be seen or parking under a light if the vehicle would be unattended for an extended period of time.

“If you notice any suspicious activity around parked vehicles call 911 immediately. Note a physical description of the suspicious people and vehicle they are driving and report that to the dispatcher. Be available for further follow up from an officer should they need to contact you after responding to the theft,” the department said.

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