A citywide rise in thefts of catalytic converters for scrap metal is particularly acute in the neighborhood of Silver Lake, according to Los Angeles police.
In two months, 35 catalytic converters have been reported stolen — one just this Monday, officials said.
Thieves take only a couple minutes using a portable hand saw to steal the car parts, which can be worth up to $300 due to the high content ratio of palladium, rhodium and platinum, said LAPD Detective Fernando Prieto.
Silver Lake is a hot spot for the thefts because of a high concentration of targeted cars such as the Honda Element, officials said.
Scrap yards and recycling centers are fueling the growing theft ring by paying top dollar for sawed-off catalytic converters, police said.
Officials advise people to park in a well-lit area, get a vehicle identification number etched on the catalytic converter and install a motion sensor or "cat clamp" on it.
The clamps cost between $100 and $700, but replacing a stolen converter can cost up to $3,000.
Popular cars targeted by converter thieves include the Chevy Cavalier, Pontiac Sunfire and Toyota Sequoia.