A thief or thieves broke into seven cars parked at a South Whitehall automobile dealership and stole catalytic converters from them, according to township police.
The thefts from cars at Lexus of Lehigh Valley at 4500 Broadway were reported to police on Friday afternoon. It is the third cluster of catalytic converter thefts reported in the Parkland area since Christmas.
Upper Macungie Police reported last week that thieves had stolen 14 catalytic converters from cars parked at two businesses along Schantz Road.
Communications Systems Inc. had converters stolen from 10 cars between Dec. 31 and Jan. 2, police said. Four more were taken from Hanaberry HVAC between Dec. 26 and Jan. 2.
Apparently, these thefts are part of a growing nationwide trend.
The converters are valuable because they contain precious metals, such as palladium, platinum and rhodium. A rise in the value of precious metals combined with ongoing economic struggles is to blame for the spike in converter thefts, experts tell USA Today.
Catalytic converters take toxic pollutants from vehicle emissions and turn them into less toxic pollutants -- nitrogen oxides are turned into nitrogen and oxygen, carbon monoxide is converted to carbon dioxide, and unburned hydrocarbons are turned into carbon dioxide and water.
Converters have been a standard part in most automobiles manufactured since the mid 1970s.
Anyone with information about the thefts from Lexus of Lehigh Valley is asked to call South Whitehall Township police at 610-398-0337.