ALPHARETTA, Ga. - Alpharetta police said they're seeing a surge in precious metal thefts from cars.
Police said thieves are crawling under cars and trucks in the middle of the night to steal the catalytic converter for a quick buck, leaving a big headache for the car's owner.
Randy Brown summed up his reaction to learning someone stole the catalytic converter from underneath his SUV as aggravating.
"Some bolts, they unscrew and it looks like there were some cables they snipped,” Brown said.
Brown said it's the second time since June it's happened. Thieves also hit his neighbor.
“I have insurance so I’m not out that much, a couple hundred bucks. But, you know, the hours that I spent on the phone -- two, three hours of my life I'll never get back," he said.
Alpharetta police spokesman George Gordon said thieves hit about nine cars in a matter of hours and different locations in the city.
“What they're actually getting is a small amount of platinum metals that they sell to a scrap dealer for a small amount of money,” Gordon said.
Gordon said tougher laws require metal recyclers to keep better track of the scrappers, but he said that still doesn't deter.
“We generally see an uptick of these kinds of thefts when there's a lull in the economy,” Gordon said.
Brown said it's hurting his economy every time it happens.
“I think I'd like for them to move on and work in Topeka, or someplace else,” Brown said.
Police said it's hard to protect your vehicle from this kind of theft but they suggest parking it in a well-lit area and in an area where you know there are cameras.