Auto thefts are rising now that classes are in session at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. Campus police say thieves are easily entering unlocked cars and stealing iPads, parking passes, loose change and anything else that’s not secured.
But thieves are also going a step further and are removing catalytic converters because of the valuable metals inside.
The pollution control device has materials made of platinum, iron, copper and nickel.
Since the beginning of the semester, at least four catalytic converters have been hacked off vehicles parked on campus. Most often the targeted vehicle is a Toyota.
“The interesting thing, it is really professional,” said campus police Lt. Garrett Ferreiro in an interview with the Las Cruces Sun-News.
“The cuts are clean and nothing else is damaged in the vehicle.”
Campus officials are working to combat the thefts, but urge anyone parking on campus to be vigilant.
While January numbers are not yet available, campus police recorded 69 vehicle break-in reports last semester, between August and mid-December.
Campus police have requested cameras in parking lots in higher crime areas, but authorities urge everyone to be proactive.
“If (thieves) don’t see anything, they will move on to the next car,” Ferreiro said.
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