LONDON, ONT -- London police are reporting a significant increase in thefts of a costly vehicle part across the city.

Police say they have seen a nearly 50 per cent increase in the thefts of catalytic converters, a part of a vehicle’s exhaust system.

The converter is needed for a vehicle to run properly and can cost up to $2,000 to replace.

Thieves often sell the stolen converters to scrap yards for cash.

There have been 79 thefts reported since Sep. 1, 2020.

According to investigators the targeted areas are parking lots throughout the city, with the most reported in the downtown core, along Highbury Avenue between Oxford and Brydges streets, and in parking lots in the area of Adelaide Street South and Commissioners Road East.

Map Converter Thefts

If you are missing your converter, you will hear a loud roaring or rumbling sound when you turn on your vehicle.

You will notice a space in the middle of your exhaust if the converter is missing.

Police are asking residents to report if their converters have been stolen.