police car graphic
RENO, Nev.-- They're a hot commodity for crooks. All it takes is five minutes of work and they get a big reward.
"It's very quick and easy... you can get low end out 25 dollars for the scrap, high end probably about 200 dollars," said Lt. Bill Rulla with Reno Police.
A new group that is stealing catalytic converters, the last ring, out of the Bay Area, was busted last year.
The converters have precious metals inside. Thieves melt them down for a payoff, but it's only a fraction of their total worth.
"It's a pricy unit you are looking parts and labor, thousands of dollars," said Pat Wright of Reno Dodge. He estimates it cost $3200 to replace a unit. He's seen five victims in the last two days.
"When they come here we rack them up and find that they are missing," said Wright.
The problem he has seen, they are not that difficult to steal
"Somebody with a little mechanical experience, you twist a wrench and off you go," said Wright.
Dodge and Toyota trucks are the popular targets. They're higher off the ground so thieves have easy access, but no vehicle is immune.
Preventative measures include welding the converter to the frame or, just parking in a safe place.