SUMMIT COUNTY, Utah (ABC4) – Authorities are investigating multiple catalytic converter thefts in Summit County this week. 

The Summit County Sheriff’s Office says the first theft took place on May 16 around 6:30 p.m. inside an underground parking garage.

The garage is located near 1209 Center Drive in Park City. The victim told deputies two of his work trucks had the catalytic converters cut off from the vehicles.

The victim had access to surveillance camera footage that caught the alleged suspect’s vehicle. The suspect’s car appeared to be a tan-colored Chevrolet Suburban SUV. Authorities say there also appear to be two suspects inside the car, but the license plate was obstructed by a covering.

The second incident happened near 1245 Center Drive in Park City. The victim says he parked his vehicle inside a parking garage when he noticed his catalytic converter was stolen. The man says he parked his car inside the garage during the period from 9:30 p.m. on May 16 and 1 p.m. on May 17.

When he noticed the catalytic converter was stolen, he contacted the building manager to obtain security footage, which has not been released yet. There are no suspect descriptions at this time.

Authorities have noticed a rise in catalytic convertors throughout Utah in recent months.

“Thanks to the increasing prices of the precious metals used in the production — i.e, platinum, rhodium and palladium — an ill-gotten catalytic converter can ‘typically’ fetch between $50 and $250 when sold to an unscrupulous recycling facility,” according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB).

Experts say the pandemic has only driven up demand and prices of these metals. Rhodium, alone, is currently valued at over $16,000 per ounce.

Every vehicle on the road has been required to be equipped with a catalytic converter since 1975. Although that means all cars are potential targets, some cars pose an increased risk simply due to how they’re built.

According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), vehicles that sit higher off the ground — or high-clearance vehicles — are common targets as they allow thieves easier access to converters. These types of vehicles include trucks, SUVs, vans, buses, delivery vehicles and more.

Hybrids — Toyota Priuses in particular — are also a “major target” as their converters tend to be less worn than those of traditional automobiles, said the NICB. AAA also reported that Priuses carry more “hefty amounts” of precious metals than many other models.

For tips on how to protect your vehicle from catalytic convertor theft, click here.