GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) – Green Bay police are warning residents about an increase in catalytic converter thefts in the area.

According to the department, they have continued to receive several reports of stolen catalytic converters happening in commercial and residential areas and are now advising residents to be aware of their surroundings when parking their vehicles.

According to Chapel Hill Tire Car Care, people have been stealing catalytic converters off of cars to sell for scraps. These scraps can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars on the black market making these devices lucrative targets for thieves.

Here’s what you need to know about catalytic converters and how to prevent yours from being stolen.

What is a catalytic converter? What does it do?

A catalytic converter is an exhaust emission control device located on the underside of a car, between the exhaust manifold and muffler.

The main purpose of this device is to reduce harmful emissions. Additionally, having a well-running catalytic converter improves a car’s efficiency.

How can I tell if my car’s catalytic converter is missing?

People will be able to tell when their vehicle’s catalytic converter is missing because they will hear a loud rumbling sound as soon as the car’s engine is turned on. This rumbling sound will only increase in volume as the person tries to accelerate.

Will my vehicle still be able to run without a catalytic converter?

While a vehicle can still function without a catalytic converter, people are advised to get it replaced to avoid dealing with loud noises when driving, rough driving and acceleration, and the release of harmful car emissions into the environment.

This replacement of a catalytic converter can cost anywhere between $900 to $2,500.

How can I prevent a catalytic converter theft from happening?

  • Avoid parking in isolated areas that are not well lit.
  • Park in populated areas with street cameras.
  • Install a protective device to make it harder for thieves to cut out the catalytic converter.
  • Set up vibration triggering alarms.
  • Report suspicious activity when you see it whether its where you live or where you work.

Green Bay police are asking residents who may have seen any suspicious activity to report it to the non-emergency number at (920) 391-7450. Additionally, anyone with information about these thefts is asked to contact the department at (920) 448-3208. You can remain anonymous and be eligible for a cash reward by contacting Green Bay Area Crime Stoppers at (920) 432-7867, or the “P3” app.