Kingsport, Tenn. (AP) -- Police in the Tri-Cities area say there has been a rash of thefts of catalytic converters from cars in recent weeks.
Kingsport Police Detective Hank McQueen says thieves are after the small amounts of platinum in the converters. McQueen says the criminals melt down the converters to recover the platinum, which has become more valuable in recent months.
Owners of area muffler shops say it had become routine for motorists to drive in, needing new converters to replace the components stolen from their cars.
Bristol Police say they have 20 reports of the converters being stolen since the beginning of November.
The Kingsport Times-News contacted several auto shops and were quoted replacement costs between 120 dollars and 200 dollars.
Copyright 2006 by the Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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