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There seems to be another rash of thieves interfering with citizens’ vehicles, but it’s not the vehicle or what’s inside: it’s what’s underneath.

Recently there have been several reports of catalytic converters being stolen from parked vehicles not just in the Vidalia area, but in neighboring cities and counties, too. Catalytic converters are part of the exhaust emission control which converts toxic gases and pollutants from the vehicle and back into the atmosphere in less toxic forms.

Vidalia Police Department Assistant Chief Capt. Roger Calloway said well-disguised would-be thieves have been caught on camera doing the deed but are so well covered it’s hard to make an identification. Capt. Calloway says they are perpetrating their thievery wearing masks and under the cover of darkness. However, police are acting on leads to apprehend the culprits and police do have video of someone in action and have at least one witness with whom they are currently working.

According to the Captain, the converters contain a small amount of platinum, a precious and expensive metal, and each converter can have from $300 - $400 worth of the metal and since larger pick-up trucks seem to have the most platinum in their converters, they are vehicle of choice. However, he says those who are stealing the converters have also targeted smaller vehicles as well.

Adding to the problem is the fact that catalytic converters do not carry Vehicle Identification Numbers, or VIN numbers on them, so there’s no way to match that part back to the vehicle from which it was stolen.

But there is something you can do to help. Captain Calloway is asking the public to keep their eyes open. Captain Calloway urges citizens if they see someone acting suspiciously around a parked or unattended vehicle or at car lot after hours, to call the police immediately and they will respond.

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