HINTON, WV (WVNS) — Catalytic converters are exhaust emission control devices used to reduce toxic gases.

As this particular part is made of precious metals like platinum, they can be worth hundreds of dollars when sold for scraps. This is why officers with the Hinton Police Department believe they are receiving more reports of the stolen part.

“To my knowledge, the scrap prices were pretty high recently and that is causing an influx of people trying to take them and turn them in to get money,” said Hinton Chief of Police Nathan Allen.

Chief Allen said at the moment, reports are coming from larger commercial vehicles; however, with the number of cars parked on the street in Hinton, reports of the part missing from personal vehicles are popping up as well.

“So far it has been commercial vehicles and businesses in the area,” Allen said.

Chief Allen said he noticed similar reports in other counties and other parts of the country.

“It is and we have also had reports that it has been happening in Mercer County and Greenbrier County has been hit pretty hard, too,” said Chief Allen.

He said the best way to prevent this from happening to you is to keep a close eye on your car. Allen said to contact Hinton Police or Summers County 9-1-1 if you see anything suspicious or realize your catalytic converter is missing.

“Their case may be the one that breaks the whole case open, so we are asking that you do report it and what you will notice is that your vehicle will be very loud,” said Chief Allen.