Posted Thursday, February 7, 2013 --- 11:36 a.m.
Information from UW-Madison:
The University of Wisconsin Police Department is warning motorists about thefts of catalytic converters from vehicles parked in campus parking lots.
The catalytic converters, part of an automobile’s exhaust system, are being cut off by the thieves. According to the UWPD, these thefts can happen quickly – it takes about three minutes to cut one off – and the cost to replace the converter is between $1,200 and $3,000.
Thefts from Lot 60, on the west side of campus near UW Hospital and Clinics, and from the Eagle Heights Community have been reported. Three thefts have been reported to UWPD over the last two weeks.
The thieves are especially targeting vehicles with higher clearance, like SUVs, and that Toyota SUVs appear to be a favorite mark because their converters are attached with bolts.
Removing the catalytic converter from a vehicle will cause the vehicle to be very loud upon starting. Anti-theft systems, sold online and at auto parts stores, are available. Police also recommend etching identifying information on the converter to assist in tracking it if stolen.
UWPD is asking anyone who has been the victim of a catalytic converter theft to report it immediately by calling (608) 264-COPS, and is asking members of the campus community to be alert for anyone under a vehicle in any campus parking lot and to report the suspicious activity to police.