Danville police are investigating a series of catalytic converter thefts from vehicles across town the past few months, according to a department spokesman.
Lt. Allan Shields said since April there have been approximately 20 incidents reported to police of thieves in Danville taking catalytic converters, a part of a vehicle's exhaust system containing some precious metals.
The local incidents have occurred primarily in neighborhoods and targeted Toyota trucks and SUVs because of their use of multiple catalytic converters, Shields said Friday.
"If a converter is stolen, the vehicle owner will know it when the vehicle is started as it will be very loud and sound as though it has no muffler," he added.
Detectives are actively investigating the string of thefts, but Shields also recommended residents take steps to help prevent similar incidents going forward.
"The best way for residents to prevent these thefts is keeping your vehicle either in the garage, a side yard or a well-lit area," the lieutenant said. "Another way is by being vigilant in your neighborhoods. Keeping an eye out for each other is a good way to prevent these crimes from happening."
Shields said vehicle owners can also have the converter secured to the vehicle frame or have metal installed around the converter as a shield. He recommended people consider labeling their catalytic converter with the car's license or vehicle identification number since the device has no unique identifiers.
Any Danville resident suspecting a catalytic converter theft or noticing any suspicious activity should contact the police department, calling 9-1-1 for emergencies or 820-2144 for non-emergency situations, according to Shields.
Anyone with information about the recent thefts can contact Danville police at 314-3700.