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Metal Thieves Targeting Cars At LIRR Station Lots For Pricey Part

Similar Catalytic Converter Thefts Reported Last Month In N.J.

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SYOSSET, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Thieves on Long Island have been targeting cars not for what’s inside, but for a pricey part that contains precious metal.

As CBS 2′s Hazel Sanchez reported, crooks have been removing catalytic converters off vehicles to make quick cash.

“They basically cut at the bottom of the cat and on the top of the cat and they take it and they run with it,” mechanic Bryan Cook said.

In the last two weeks, two cars parked next to Long Island Rail Road’s Syosset station and one near the Hicksville station had their catalytic converters stolen.

Police said the platinum found in the car part can be worth as much as $1,500 an ounce.

Just last month, Linden, N.J. was hit with a rash of catalytic converter heists.

A car rental business reported 16 thefts.

“You can’t chain them in, they’re just pieces of pipe,” J&M auto repair owner Randy Williams told Sanchez.

He said several of his customers were victimized, including one who was ripped off just a few weeks ago.

“He lost two catalytic converters in the Syosset train station. They cut them out, I’m sure they just went to the junkyard or scrap yards for the precious metal and they sell them,” said Williams.

The hottest targets have been trucks and SUVs.

“Usually SUVs, anything that has high clearance that you can sneak underneath. Someone skinny enough to slide under and cut them out,” Cook told Sanchez.

Because thieves have targeted several cars near LIRR stations, MTA police say they are aware and are working with Nassau County police to inspect cars when they patrol the area.

Replacing a catalytic converter can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to more than $1,000.

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