BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Catalytic converters have become more and more attractive to thieves in recent years. Sergeant L’jean McKneely with the Baton Rouge Police Department said they’ve seen an uptick in catalytic converter thefts in the last two years.

“The item that’s inside the converter is high dollar. Those individuals, from what we are learning, are taking them across state lines and selling them to another consumer, “said McKneely.

Louisiana has stricter laws about who can buy and sell catalytic converters. Mark Theriot, the owner of Christian Brothers Automotive, said it takes just a few minutes to cut the part out of a car and is even easier for trucks that are higher off the ground.

What makes this part so sought after?

“You’ve got platinum, you got palladium, and you’ve got rhodium,” said Theriot.

A catalytic converter has a recycled value of 50 to 700 dollars, depending on the car. The part costs $2,000 in repairs to replace.

If your car’s catalytic converter is stolen, Theriot said you’ll know almost right away. He said you’ll hear it first and then you’ll start to smell the gases.

“It’ll roar almost like a racecar,” said Theriot.

Catalytic converters help filter pollutants from your engine’s exhausts but without the part, it’s a carbon monoxide poisoning risk.

Theriot said there are ways to protect yourself, including having your VIN number engraved on the catalytic converter or purchasing a cage to secure the part in your car.

“Park in a well-lit, high-trafficked area,” said Theriot.

If your catalytic converter is stolen, it’s suggested that you file a police report for your insurance claim.