SOUTH BRUNSWICK, NJ - In the past four months, seven catalytic converters have been stolen off of cars in South Brunswick Township as similar thefts have been on the rise in the state. South Brunswick Police are alerting residents to be cautious of their vehicles and to report any suspicious activity.

Catalytic converters are part of a vehicle's exhaust system that reduces toxic gasses and pollutants emitted into the air. They are targeted by thieves because they contain valuable metals such as platinum, according to the South Brunswick Police.

According to a press release, most of these thefts occur early in the morning and can be accomplished in three minutes. Actors will typically use a battery operated "sawzall," crawl underneath your vehicle, make two quick cuts and remove the catalytic converter. Stolen items are then sold at scrapyards.

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Early to mid-2000’s Hondas, Ford Econoline Vans and Toyota Priuses have been targeted. The South Brunswick Police Department has recommended the following to prevent any further incidents.

●      Park in well-lit areas.

●      Park close to building entrances or the nearest road in public parking lots. This leaves your car in a location where many people can see it.

●      Add video surveillance to the area where you regularly park your car.

●      Adjust the security system on your car, if already installed, to activate from vibrations, such as those produced by a saw.