BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – Bakersfield has seen a significant spike in catalytic converter thefts this year. Replacing one could cost you thousands of dollars, but there’s a simple fix so you can avoid the exhaustion.

Catalytic converters don’t look fancy, but they’re made of expensive precious metals, like platinum.

“They can range in cost anywhere from several hundred dollars to the worst one we’ve had was over $4,000,” said Roger Perry, with G&G Auto Repair.

Perry says recently, a lot more people have come in saying their converters were stolen. He blames the pandemic.

“It’s been happening for the last ten years, but it’s really gone through the roof because I think, unfortunately, with people being out of jobs, they find creative ways to make money,” Perry said.

Perry isn’t the only one noticing a spike in thefts. Bakersfield Police Department says just this year, they’ve received 430 reports of stolen catalytic converters. That’s three times more than last year, and we still have eight months to go.

“Where there’s a lot of vehicles being parked, someone can roll under and cut it off and be gone for multiple vehicles in a very short period of time,” said Chief Greg Terry, Bakersfield Police.

Even the owner of G&G Auto Repair had the converter stolen off his yellow jeep.

“The owner drives in and his catalytic converter had been stolen from in front of his house that previous night,” Perry said. “So we immediately started looking into other ways to keep that from happening.”

He found a company called Cat Security. They sell aluminum plates that cover the muffler section under your car. This makes it hard for would-be thieves to quickly cut off the converter.

“Look around you when you’re parking in large parking lots, shopping centers in the plaza or something like that,” Chief Terry said. “And if you see something, say something.”

G&G Auto Repair and some car dealerships are looking into selling those guards for your converter. The guards themselves cost anywhere between 100 and 400 dollars.