MESA, Ariz. - The Mesa Police Department is warning residents of an increase in catalytic converter thefts over the past three months.
Police said between Oct. 22 and Jan. 12, they investigated 27 cases involving the theft of a catalytic converter.
The majority of these incidents are taking place in parking lots, mostly in shopping centers.
The suspects are targeting pickup trucks and SUVs because of the ease with which they can get under the vehicle and remove the converter.
Mesa police don't have any suspects and believe there are multiple suspects.
The catalytic converter is located along the vehicle exhaust system and is used to reduce emissions. Mesa police say it takes less than two minutes to remove from a vehicle. It can cost more than $1,000 to replace if stolen.
Mesa police are asking people to take extra precautions to prevent thefts and offer these tips:
-Park in areas that are well lit and easily seen.
-Park vehicles in garages whenever possible.
-Back additional vehicles up to a garage door.
-If possible, park so that someone cannot crawl under the back of your vehicle.
-Consider having your catalytic converter etched with your VIN number.
-Speak to your mechanic about installing a preventive theft device.
Anyone with information about any of the thefts is asked to contact the Mesa Police Department at 480-644-2211 or Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS.