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A catalytic converter.

Catalytic converters are being stolen out of vehicles in Shenandoah County, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

The thefts have occurred primarily in areas where there isn’t much activity, such as the park-and-ride lot near Interstate 81's 291 exit, Capt. Kolter Stroop said.

“It comes and goes...it’ll pick up for a little while and then you won’t have any for a year,” Stroop said. “And then it may pick up again.”

No particular car makes or models or residential areas have been targeted, Stroop said.

Motorists are encouraged to park in well-lit spots and close to buildings, the Sheriff’s Office posted on its Facebook page.

An increase in thefts of catalytic converters have been reported around the country over the past year because they contain “precious metals” such as rhodium, which reduces a vehicle's emissions.

According to a March article in The Washington Post, skyrocketing demand for catalytic converters stems from rising emission standards and the stopping of mining of precious metals in Africa during the pandemic.

As a result, the cost of catalytic converters has also increased, and Stroop said they can be sold for hundreds of dollars, likely at recycled part locations.

Anyone who has had their catalytic converter stolen and has seen any suspicious activity is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at 540-459-6100.

Contact Charles Paullin at cpaullin@nvdaily.com