HOUSTON - Thefts of catalytic converters have more than tripled in Harris County and Houston.
A local auto body shop tells FOX 26, thieves can get up to $250 from the metals they steal from inside the converter. But it cost the car owners upwards of $4- $5,000 dollars to fix.
"When she went out in the afternoon it didn’t sound right," said Bobbie Pfleger of Spring. "I ask my husband to swing by their—he thought maybe someone was playing a prank, so he checked the muffler. He looked underneath the vehicle and saw that the converters were gone."
Bobbie Pfleger says the converters were stolen from her car, which her daughter was using at the time, during school hours at Klein Collins High School.
She also told us that two additional cars were hit as well.
Law enforcement says many times these thieves are hard to catch. Typically they come at night and are gone within minutes usually leaving no evidence behind.
"There are certain vehicles that are more prone. The larger SUV and trucks are being targeted because, often they have multiple converters, and they sit higher off the ground."
Greg Carter, who owns Downtown Body Shop said, he has several cars in his shop right now that have had their converters stolen, including a few Toyota SUVs and Ford F250s.
The Harris County sheriff’s office saying there is a rise in these types of theft all over the U.S. as the price of metal increases.
Carter said a catalytic converter is under warranty by dealers up to 100,000 miles. If not under warranty, it could cost even more to fix.
Pfleger and her husband were in shock and angered, now they want to bring awareness.
Drivers can also take preventative steps like purchasing an alarm created for this issue, or marking or engraving your converter so it’s easier to track down by police, if stolen.