This story originally appeared on 6abc.
The Centennial School District, in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, said five of their school buses recently had their catalytic converters stolen.
“It’s sad because you know we’re on a budget, and this is killing our budget. We really take our budget – not lightly – we keep within it, so this is really going to take a toll on it for us,” said Karen Morgan, the supervisor of transportation for the Centennial School District.
Morgan said she believes the thieves cut a hole in the fence to get into the bus lot sometime between Saturday evening and Monday morning.
School buses in Moorestown, New Jersey were hit last month. Police say two suspects stole nine catalytic converters from smaller school buses.
“A catalytic converter is like a big filter that just filters the pollutants that come out of a bus,” said Devindra Nagassar, a mechanic with the Centennial School District.
Thieves go after the catalytic converters because they contain precious metals with skyrocketing values.
The owner of Coffman’s Service said you can deter would-be thieves by parking in a well-lit area or investing in a shield, although it’s not a full-proof solution.
“The kits are fairly expensive and they take time to put on so you kind of got to weigh that against what you’re losing,” said Dilworth Coffman, the owner of Coffman’s Service.
Coffman said the shields would make it harder to steal your catalytic converter.
“I would think it’s got to double the time to take it off at least because they’re using saws to take them off so maybe it would make it harder for them,” said Coffman.
Coffman added you could put a VIN on your catalytic converter which would help track it down before the metals are melted down.
Warminster police said catalytic converter thefts have become more common more recently. The thefts happen quickly, within a few minutes.
Police said the stolen converters are generally then sold for the scrap and rare metals that are found inside. Police are asking everyone to be extra vigilant for this type of activity.