AKRON, Ohio (WOIO) - Akron police have launched an investigation after at least 33 catalytic converters were stolen from locations all over the city in a one week span.
The thefts appear to be related, but Akron police are still working to find the link between the thefts. Investigators have not yet identified the people responsible.
The Wickliffe Police Department said they are investigating catalytic converter thefts after three businesses reported that the car parts were stolen from vehicles sitting in their parking lots overnight.
Police in Wickliffe told 19 News that security cameras captured the suspect vehicle, which they believe to be the same car in all three thefts.
The owners of One Stop Auto in downtown Cleveland said they have reported multiple catalytic converter thefts to police.
While the thefts in Akron appear to be related, there has not been a report from police that the thefts from all three cities are connected to one another.
Tim Kirk, one of the owners of One Stop Auto, told 19 News that the auto shop paid to replace the catalytic converters of the cars that were parked in their lot.
Repair prices can be steep to replace the converters.
Kirk said the costs can be as high as $700 for a replacement, but a check online found prices much higher than the one Kirk quoted.
Kirk said it is fairly easy to steal the catalytic converters, thieves, he said, sometimes use jacks to lift the car and then it takes only a few minutes, using a Sawzall, to cut the converter out.
Thieves are after the precious metals that are used inside a catalytic converter that help reduce emissions.
Platinum is the most common precious metal found in catalytic converters and Kirk said the thieves sell the converters to metal recyclers or salvage yards for hundreds of dollars.