SOUTH NATOMAS -- A South Natomas neighborhood is seeing an increased number of catalytic converter thefts.
According to police, thefts of catalytic converters are pretty common, but said lately thieves have been targeting hybrid cars.
Muffler Tech auto shop owner Colby Sandman said he’s seen his fair share of cars coming in with missing parts.
"Most recently we’ve been seeing the hybrids, more specifically the Toyota Prius,” Sandman explained.
Sacramento Police said there have been 18 reports of stolen catalytic converters in the South Natomas area since January 1.
“Twelve of the 18 have been from Toyota Prius vehicles,” Officer Vance Chandler said.
Police said they’ve seen thefts in the Willow Creek and River Plaza areas lately -- but said thieves are also stealing catalytic converters in other parts of the city and neighboring areas.
"The reason they’re valuable to someone who is stealing them is because you can melt down the internals, and recycle the precious metal out of them," Sandman explained.
He said most thieves are only getting around $50 to $100 for the stolen parts but the bill can cost a car owner up to $3,000 dollars in labor and repairs.
Now, police are urging drivers to protect their cars so it won’t be the next target for thieves.
"If you have the ability to, park near windows, security cameras, or in a garage," Chandler said.
Police also said car owners should invest in getting their vin number etched on the auto part.
"The new movement around the Prius -- it doesn’t seem like that thief cares," Sandman said. "They’re doing whatever they can to get it off the car."