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Cops seek suspects in school bus catalytic converter theft

Thieves steal catalytic converters from Gloucester Township school buses
Thieves steal catalytic converters from Gloucester Township school buses 00:48

BLACKWOOD, NJ (CBS) -- New surveillance video from police shows people stealing catalytic converters from school buses parked overnight.

The thefts occurred November 28th and 29th at the Gloucester Township Public Schools Transportation Center. Two vehicles were seen pulling up on video.

During both of these incidents, the driver of an SUV dropped off the suspects while the driver of a white sedan acts as a lookout.

Police say the thieves cut a hole in the fence and stole six catalytic converters.

They also damaged two vehicles while unsuccessfully cutting their converters.

Last month in Washington Township, Gloucester County, police warned the public about a spike in catalytic converter thefts from residents' personal vehicles.

Catalytic converter thefts on the rise prior to NJ school bus theft 01:38

Catalytic converter thefts on the rise across the nation

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, catalytic converter thefts are up more than 1,200% since 2019.

Because they contain valuable metals like palladium and platinum, catalytic converters can fetch a high price at a scrapyard or on the black market.

The issue isn't just happening in New Jersey. In Philadelphia, City Council is reviewing a new bill that would include harsher penalties and fines for thieves.

The bill would also make it so people would have to prove that a catalytic converter is not stolen before going to a junkyard.

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