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Arkansas mechanics share how to avoid falling victim to catalytic converter thefts

A catalytic converter only takes a few seconds to steal but can cost up to thousands in repairs— now mechanic shops are sharing some preventative steps.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Recently there has been a familiar hum in the air of The Muffler Shop in Little Rock.

Jerry Duvall, the shop manager said he has come to know all too well.

He typically sees cars in his shop for all sorts of issues, but lately, many of them have been there for one specific reason.

Some parts of the city have seen an uptick in catalytic converter thefts.

Duvall added that the reason customers have been coming into the shop is unfortunate to have to see. 

"That's what they did, they take a saw and they cut right through them," Duvall said, as he pointed out a gaping hole on the underside of a Kia Soul.

There should be a catalytic converter in that spot. Duvall said, unfortunately, that business has been steady for them due to the recent thefts.

"It's times where it'll pick up and slow down," he said. "We still see anywhere from five to ten a week, if not more."

Thieves can make a quick buck from selling the catalytic converters.

 Unfortunately for you, it costs significantly more to have them replaced.

Duvall said they can start at around $250 to replace, but for the bigger cars and trucks, those repairs can cost upwards of thousands.

On Wednesday morning, residents at the Riverside at Rockwater in North Little Rock got an email, that stated "Two men were apprehended and arrested while attempting to remove catalytic converters from our vehicles."

That email went on to say, "It breaks my heart to report that these suspects had access to the community because they were residents."

The company that manages the property reached out to amend some misinformation given in the email— they stated that property managers were mistaken when they identified the men as residents on Wednesday.

The owners of the vehicles were residents, however, the suspects were not.

"We've had gated communities have converters stolen off of them, so that doesn't exactly help you there," Duvall added. "It really boils down to if they want it, they're gonna get it."

There are some things you could do that might deter thieves from taking the catalytic converters. 

"Paint them with a high temp orange spray paint that tells a converter buyer that they're not supposed to be buying that," Duvall said. "That it came off of a vehicle that it wasn't supposed to come off of."

It's not guaranteed that it will stop a thief, but Duvall said anything you can do to try and stop them, can help. 

"I feel bad for people that come in here and have had them stolen, there are some people that just can't afford to replace them," Duvall said.

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