FORT MYERS, Fla. — A loud noise from your car could mean you have fallen victim to a growing crime trend.
Catalytic converter thefts are on the rise nationwide, and Lee County Sheriff's officials are putting the word out in the hopes you will be more aware.
The auto parts are highly valuable due to the number of precious metals they contain, including platinum and rhodium.
Thieves will essentially cut the part out from your exhaust system using a reciprocating saw. Without the part in place, victims will hear a loud and unpleasant noise.
Deputies say the easiest way to protect your vehicle is to park in an enclosed garage or in a well-lit area and try to ensure you have security cameras aimed at your vehicle.
"Legislators have begun composing bills aimed at discouraging the theft and sale of these automotive parts," LCSO said in a statement. "Still, proactive measures reduce opportunity and dissuade criminals from targeting your vehicle."
If you become the victim of catalytic converter theft, promptly notify your local law enforcement and insurance company; many comprehensive insurance polices cover this type of theft.