OMAHA (KPTM)- There's a pretty important part underneath a car many drivers don't pay much mind to, but thieves do. The catalytic converter.
"It's job is to clean up the exhaust gases after they've already been burned inside the engine so it comes out much cleaner then what it was first going through," said Jones Automotive mechanic, Don Velander.
Without a converter your car can quickly deteriorate—a likely situation for people of recent thefts near Creighton University. The Omaha Police Department said this is a growing trend in the city.
"People don't realize that the converters are being stolen on the side of the road simply because they think that it's somebody helping somebody out," said Velander.
Velander explained that in less than a minute, a thief can pull out a hand held saw, get under the car and cut through the pipes. They'll then yank the converter, get from underneath the car and go sell it.
Mechanics said that if your car makes a loud roar when it starts, most likely the converter is gone.
"Not only are you getting carbon monoxide in the vehicle, you have other exhaust components that are not being supported," said Velander.
To repair or replace the converter can cost up to thousands of dollars. The reason why converters are such hot ticket items to steal is because of what's inside the part.
"They contain precious metals. There's platinum, palladium and rhodium in either one or two or all three in a combination of one or two styles of converters," said Velander.
While police look into these crimes, drivers can buy a converter lock to keep thieves from stealing it. Contact your local mechanic.
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