It's a crime that only takes seconds but can cost you thousands -- and it's on the rise.

“It’s going to take them, 1,001, 1,002, 1,003, 1,004, he’s done,” said Rodney Walker, owner of S & S Muffler, as he showed just how quickly thieves can steal your car's catalytic converter. 

Clayton County Police over the weekend arrested Tomathias Beauford for the theft of over 55 catalytic converters.

“We [are] living in a pandemic … times are little rougher,” Walker said.

The parts help clean the harsh fumes coming out of gasoline cars. Those who have to fix the busted cars say it’s all to do with the precious metals contained within the part. 

“Older cars that have a little bit more platinum, rhodium and palladium in it so that makes the catalytic converter more valuable,” Walker said.

Right now the price of palladium per ounce is 33 percent more than an ounce of gold. Walker, who’s shop is in West Atlanta, said his muffler business is seeing a huge increase from 2019 in stolen converters from all over.

“I’m doing anywhere between 30 – 50 a week,” he said.

Owners even reporting to Walker their converters have been stolen on the highway after taking a quick run to the gas station to refill their out-of-gas cars.

Thieves can get anywhere between $40 to $200 per part, but it’ll cost you a lot more.

“We did a van the other day and they did a real hack job on the van so we had to pretty much rebuild his whole pipe system, and that was close to $1,600,” he said.

Electric vehicles like Tesla don't use the converters and is one of the reason manufacturers are rushing to put out electric vehicles to help cut out the use of precious expensive metals.

Keeping your car in a locked garage is the only sure fire way to keep the thieves at bay.

Copyright 2021 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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