SOUTH ST. LOUIS ( - Several St. Louis area police departments are investigating after a spike in catalytic converter thefts, specifically from U-Haul trucks.

The owner of Orchard Auto Service in Collinsville told News 4 he recently had catalytic converters stolen from two trucks on his property.

"We went to pull around a truck for a customer. We always pull them up here for them. It was loud as can be, obvious problem,” said Steve Suess.

According to St. Louis County police, officers were called to a large U-Haul dealer in the 12000 block of Lusher in north St. Louis County on Tuesday and Wednesday of last week after anti-pollution devices were stolen from 20 trucks. The county’s auto theft unit is handling the investigation.

A spokesman at U-Haul’s corporate office in Phoenix acknowledged the spike in thefts and said the crimes have happened at multiple locations in the St. Louis area. Jeff Lockridge released a statement saying:

“U-Haul is working closely with the St. Louis Metro Police Department to see that the situation is addressed and that these individuals are identified and brought to justice.”

The company said it’s asking police to step up patrols in areas where there have been thefts.

Catalytic converters contain precious metals like platinum, palladium and rhodium. Palladium and rhodium prices are higher than they’ve been in more than years.

The devices can be easily removed by a thief using a reciprocating saw and are usually sold to scrap metal dealers. However, St. Louis and St. Louis County regulations require sellers to show a photo ID and buyers must record information on the sellers and keep it in a searchable database.

Copyright 2018 KMOV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved

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