Over the weekend, someone cut through a fence and then cut catalytic converters off trucks at ServiceMaster and Hobby Lobby in Kansas City, Mo., reports KMBC. ServiceMaster lost 10 converters; Hobby Lobby lost 18. Surveillance video is being analyzed at ServiceMaster.
Converters were also stolen from trucks at Penske Rental at 115th and Blue Ridge and from a nearby U-Haul store.
It will cost the companies thousands of dollars to replace the stolen converters. The replacement cost for each converter is estimated at close to $1,000.
The converters are frequently stolen so thieves can fence the precious metal inside, police said. Officers said the number of thefts has spiked in the last month.
The pollution control devices can contain platinum, palladium and a very expensive metal called rhodium, which can sell for more than $1,500 an ounce. The converters are worth about $80 at a scrap yard.
Bret Belmore with City Scrap Metal said they are careful with their purchases. Any sale worth more than $50 requires ID and a record of the transaction, and if they aren't comfortable buying it, they won't. Still, he said it's often hard to tell as catalytic converters have no serial numbers, making it difficult to prove whether they are stolen or salvage, according to KMBC.