STUART, Fla. - Marcell Geffrard started his Toyota 4Runner and immediately knew something was wrong.
The normally quiet SUV sounded more like a muscle car.
A mechanic discovered the problem; Geffrard's catalytic converter had been stolen.
Part of the exhaust system, the catalytic converter filters out pollutants.
The device contains stainless steel, platinum and rhodium; precious metals than can fetch money at scrap yards.
Mike DiTerlizzi, owner of Highway Tire and Auto in Palm City, says he's repaired a half-dozen cars with stolen catalytic converters in the last six months.
"Usually they cut it, it's quicker to cut it than to unbolt it so they cut it open," says DiTerlizzi. "You wind up having to replace the whole exhaust system."
That costs anywhere from $300 to more than $1000 to replace.
Geffrard contacted his insurance company.
The Martin County Sheriff's Office says people should pay attention when they're walking through parking lots.
SUVs are the primary targets because their high profile provides easy access.
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