Police in North Carolina continue to report an uptick in instances of a crime that could make your car sound different overnight.
The Chapel Hill Police Department said Tuesday that it has seen a rise in catalytic converter thefts, like many other municipalities in the state.
Thieves are interested in those emissions control devices for the precious metals they contain – including platinum, palladium and rhodium.
Hondas are being targeted more than other vehicles, several reports say, but trucks and SUVs are also vulnerable because there is more room to get access to the underside of the vehicles, Chapel Hill police said.
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How can you tell if your catalytic converter has been stolen?
“Your car will sound a lot louder in the middle of the car than it previously sounded,” Chapel Hill police wrote in social media posts. “In that case, if you’re able, look underneath the vehicle for evidence of a theft.”
The Raleigh Police Department issued a similar statement last week.
After 52 cases of catalytic converter theft were reported in Raleigh in 2017, there were 12 this January alone, police said.
“The vehicles targeted are primarily Honda Accords and Ford vans,” Raleigh police said. “They have been parked in apartment complexes, random business parking lots, and auto repair shops throughout the city. The incidents have occurred on various days of the week and typically overnight.”
Investigators in Fayetteville reported 17 stolen catalytic converters just from Jan. 26 through Jan. 29, according to ABC11.
Chapel Hill police offer these pointers to reduce the chance of catalytic converter theft:
▪ Park in areas that are well lit and don’t offer easy access underneath your car.
▪ Call police if you hear the sound of a saw or see someone working under a vehicle late at night.
▪ When in shopping centers, park near the entrance or main road where traffic would be greatest.