GRAPEVINE (CBSDFW.COM) - Police in Grapevine say they've seen a spike in the theft of catalytic converters from vehicles. There were a rash of thefts this past weekend.
"On Saturday, we had four catalytic converters stolen from four separate vehicles," grapevine police Sgt. Robert Eberling explained. "They were all pretty much in the same general area, located by the mall."
The shopping mall Eberling refers to is Grapevine Mills Mall.
A catalytic converter is a device that reduces the amount of harmful emissions released through exhaust, but it isn't the actual part that interests thieves, they're after what's inside the converters.
"The metals are very valuable, that they remove from those catalytic converters," Eberling said. "They [thieves] of course try to sell those metals off to get more money."
Having four converter thefts in one weekend is unusual, especially since Grapevine police say there were only two similar thefts in the previous three months combined.
Sergeant Eberling believes the thefts could all be related.
"They'll hit a particular area that they feel comfortable at. If they can get three or four at a time, then that's a pretty good score for them."
While thieves may only net $100 for the metal, replacement cost for car owners can be more than $1,000.
The theft of a catalytic converter requires that a person get underneath a vehicle to remove it -- that creates a particular problem with passersby noticing.
"Unless people are really paying attention it's hard to spot, unlike someone breaking into the vehicle," Eberling said. "It's not as easily detectable as someone suspicious standing next to a vehicle. It's hard to recognize that someone might be underneath a vehicle and trying to remove these items."
Grapevine police are advising that residents to be aware of their surroundings and watch for suspicious people and activity in public parking areas. If something looks out of the ordinary Eberling said, "they certainly need to call police (911)."
Anyone with information about the catalytic converter thefts is asked to contact Grapevine police at (817) 410-8127.
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