WETHERSFIELD, CT (WFSB) -- There has been a recent uptick in the number of catalytic converters being stolen in the greater Hartford area.

Brazen thieves are cutting them out and recycling them for big money.

Pop’s Exhaust Shop in Wethersfield said a dozen or so vehicles a week are being brought in for a new catalytic converter.

“It’s been going on for years, but now more than ever the precious metal industry is going way up and people are stealing them daily, people are coming in daily,” said Jay Solomon, co-owner of Pop’s Exhaust Shop.

Catalytic converters come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but all the manufacturer models that come with a new car are filled with the metals that recycle places and scrap metal dealers are looking for.

“Platinum, palladium, and radium, those are the three precious metals in these converters and that’s what they are after,” Solomon said.

Stealing the converters can be done rather quickly, and multiple converters can be stolen in just a few minutes.

“They crawl under there with a saw and cut it out. They do that, they will go and hit a whole bunch of vehicles in a night,” Solomon explained.

He added that his shop spends hours and hours every week installing new converters.

While business is good, it’s bad for the customer, as a new converter can be expensive, costing from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars.

“We deal with a lot of bus companies, landscaping companies, they will go and ruin their whole fleet. We get them lined up out the door. We try to fix them as fast as we can to get them back on the road,” Solomon said.

Local police are aware of the issue, and so are insurance companies. Most say theft of a converter is covered by many policies.

For those who do have to get a new converter, the after-market models don’t have the precious metals, so they won’t be stolen again.

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