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      Thieves stealing catalytic converters

      Police said thieves are stealing a lot of catalytic converters from older cars in the Columbia area.

      Investigators said the thefts are happening during the daylight hours in various parking lots around the city.

      Thieves are stealing catalytic converters because they contain platinum and other precious metals. They can make a lot of money by selling the metals to salvage yard operators.

      MUPD Captain Brian Weimer said, â??A lot of salvage yards have been told about this so they are looking out for potential thieves to help us out. However, there are some that have been looking past this and going ahead and buying those.â??

      Thieves typically steal catalytic converters by going underneath a car and using a saw or other cutting tool to remove it. Most of the thefts have been from older cars from the 1990â??s or early 2000â??s.

      At least one theft happened at the old Ellis Fischel Cancer Center. They now call it North Mizzou. People who look like they are working on their car in a parking lot could be committing a crime. Police want you to call them immediately if you see any suspicious behavior.

      Weimer said, â??If you see people walking by with cutters, some type of saw, an electric saw or those types of things in the parking lots, weâ??d like to know, even if they were carrying a tool box or other tools. Let us know whatâ??s going on so we can check up on it and probably get this stopped.â??

      So far, the thieves have stayed away from parking garages and have only stolen from surface parking lots.

      If you have any information, youâ??re urged to call Columbia Crime Stoppers at 573-875-TIPS.