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Catalytic converter thefts on the rise

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NEW JERSEY (MYFOXNY.COM) -

Police in one New Jersey city are warning about a rise in catalytic converter thefts in vehicles at train stations, schools and other areas.

In the past week, there were two daylight thefts of catalytic converters from vehicles, one which was parked at the Linden train station and one which was parked at a private company on the 1900 block of Lower Road.

Linden police say this was in addition to 16 converters, taken from trucks parked at the Linden U-Haul, 1440 E. Edgar Rd. and two, which were taken from vehicles in the parking lots of McManus Middle School and Linden High School.

The thieves are targeting larger vehicles, especially SUVs like the Jeep Cherokee.  Police say that's because the converters are larger and contain more  platinum, which is currently valued on the open market at approximately $1,500 per ounce.  They are also easier to crawl under to get to the converters.

The crooks are using small battery-powered saws and can cut the converter off in a matter of minutes.

Police say that scrap yards will pay up to $100 for a cut-off converter, but the victim could spend $1,000 to replace it.

Many victims don't even realize that they've been victimized until they start their car, and hear a roar coming from under of the vehicle.

Police say that there is not much that can be done for prevention, but it is recommended that drivers park in a lot with video surveillance cameras which may act as a deterrent.

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