Catalytic converters are supposed to protect your vehicle and the environment from harmful emissions.
But apparently nobody is protecting catalytic converters, which are being stolen at an alarming rate around Greencastle in recent nights, City Police reported Friday.
During the overnight period from 8 p.m. Wednesday through 8 a.m. Thursday, four separate incidents of catalytic converter thefts were reported to Greencastle City Police.
"Four have been reported so far," a police spokesman said.
Catalytic converters, which contain precious metals that can be resold, were taken from vehicles parked on Paddock Court (Round Barn Manor Apartments), at Castlebury and Canterbury apartments and at the International Automotive Components (IAC) factory parking lot along Fillmore Road.
Victims generally know as soon as they start their vehicle that someone has absconded with the converter.
"There's a definite loudness when they start up their car or truck," a City Police spokesman told the Banner Graphic.
Reportedly the removal of a converter takes only a matter of minutes or less, authorities said, cautioning residents to be aware of where they park their vehicles, particularly overnight.
"Thieves are using some kind of special tool (possibly a battery-powered saw)," a City Police spokesman noted, "because they have all been taken off with a clean cut."
Individual losses are estimated from $700-$1,500, which includes the price of a replacement part and other parts necessary to reattach the device to the muffler system along with the cost of labor.
Police say thieves are not interested in the actual part, but what is inside. Thieves steal the converters and take them to scrapyards to benefit from the metals.
Catalytic converters are designed to reduce pollution-causing emissions. Since 1975, all vehicles produced in the U.S. must include a catalytic converter as part of the exhaust system.
Precious metals inside the converter act as catalysts, and when hot exhaust enters the chamber, a chemical reaction renders toxic gases, such as carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons, into less harmful emissions.;Thieves reportedly look for vehicles that sit high off the ground, such as trucks, pick-ups and SUVs. They are particularly vulnerable to catalytic converter theft because thieves can slide underneath without having to jack up the vehicle to gain access to the converter.