BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – If your car is suddenly making a loud rumbling noise, you may need to call the police. That sound could mean your catalytic converter has been stolen, a far too common crime in our community in recent months.

The catalytic converter is part of your car’s exhaust system. It captures harmful gases before they exit the exhaust pipe. The average cost for getting one replaced runs anywhere from $1,000 to $2,500.

Catalytic converters have become a hot commodity for thieves because of what’s inside.

“[It’s] The precious metals inside them; the platinum, the plutonium and stuff like that,” said Gregg Pierucci, owner of Advance Muffler Automotive.

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, thieves can make up to $240 per converter at scrap metal yards. Providing a valuable incentive, while costing car owners hundreds of dollars in repairs.

“They cut and try and try and take all they can get,” said Pierucci. “For the month of December alone we did $29,000 worth of “cats” stolen. January we did about $17,000.”

Pierucci says he’s worked on 11 cars this month, four of them just this week. 

Wednesday morning we caught him working on another vehicle with a related issue. 

Pierucci was welding extra metal bars onto the catalytic converter to make it more difficult to be removed. 

It’s not guaranteed to work, but Pierucci says it will slow thieves down.

Bakersfield police also recommend you park your car in a well-lit place and educate your friends and neighbors about catalytic converter theft so they can be on the lookout too.