Over the weekend Kent State University sent out an advisory warning students that catalytic converters are being stolen from vehicles on and off campus.

“So far on campus within the past few days we’ve taken 4 theft reports on catalytic converters being stolen,” Tricia Knoles, Kent State’s community resource officer, said.

Experts say that the main reason for these thefts are because catalytic converters contain precious metals inside them, making them very valuable at places like scrap yards.

Catalytic converter theft has been a national trend over the past few years and has now made its way to the university, leaving students to fall victim. 

“I’m on the ground looking at my car and there’s just a whole blank spot where there should be a giant piece of my car,” Kent State student Abbey Weyls said.

She says she’s one of two students whose catalytic converters were stolen at the Province apartments off campus. 

“The cut was so clean I could tell where the pipe ended. They had to have used a power saw, they didn’t just use a hand saw,” Weyls said.

According to university police, theft of these catalytic converters can happen anytime.

“It only takes a couple minutes for them to go and steal that part of the vehicle, so it can technically happen at any time day or night,” Knoles said.

Experts say one obvious way to know if your catalytic converter has been stolen is to turn on your car and listen to the engine.

“I went to start my car and it started but it sounded like my muffler was just gone; it sounded like a race car in the worst way possible,” Weyls said.

As police continue to search for suspects, they are advising students to contact them if they see suspicious activities like people looking under vehicles or lurking around parking lots. The police department is also taking extra precautions as well.

“They’re out there, they realize the issue that’s going on right now with catalytic converters so they are in those areas giving some extra attention to the residence hall areas and other parking lots where students’ cars are parked,” Knoles said.

Police say if you do see someone trying to steal a catalytic converter, there are more than 30 blue light phones stationed across campus in parking lots and sidewalks. These stations will immediately connect campus police.

Melissa Meyers is a TV2 reporter. Contact her at mmeyer24@kent.edu.

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