Catalytic converter thefts in Columbia

Police in Columbia are reporting a growing crime that TMs sweeping the nation.

Thieves are stealing catalytic converters from parked cars.

While most of us don TMt know much about these auto parts, they are worth a lot of money.

Thieves stole catalytic converters in Lot CG-1 on the Mizzou campus. Innocent drivers are becoming victims by simply parking their cars.

Someone can steal a catalytic converter in less than 30 seconds by using an electric saw. Thieves are selling the auto parts to scrap yards for $20 to $300 a piece. Catalytic converters are valuable because they contain platinum.

MUPD Captain Scott Richardson said, We would like for people to be aware of the parking lots, if there is anybody acting suspicious to give us a call, if they hear a saw sound, or something like that. Just be aware of your surroundings in parking lots and give us a call if you see anything suspicious.

The thefts mostly happened to Chevy Cavaliers, Pontiac Grand Am TMs and Ponitac Sunfires. All of the victims left their vehicles parked in parking lots for long periods of time.

Columbia police are also reporting 14 thefts of catalytic converters throughout the city. As of now, investigators have no leads.

None of the parking lots where the catalytic converters were stolen have surveillance cameras.

Anyone with information should call Columbia CrimeStoppers at 875-TIPS.