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URBANA — For the second time this week, thieves have stolen catalytic converters off vehicles belonging to the University of Illinois.

An employee reported that the pollution-control devices, appealing to scrappers for the value of the recyclable metals they contain, were stolen between Friday and Monday while they were parked at the Agronomy Seed Farm, 2102 S. Wright St., U.

Those thefts were in addition to three others that occurred over the weekend at the same farm that were discovered Monday.

A UI police report said the cost to repair the vehicles runs about $1,500 each. The two most recent thefts were estimated at $3,500 total to fix. Repairs to larger vehicles generally run much more.

In a separate theft, a catalytic converter was stolen over the weekend from a UI vehicle parked on university property at 1932 S. Wright St., U.

All area police departments have dealt with several converter thefts this year and last. Trucks, SUVs and vans with a high clearance are often targets because it’s easy for the thieves to get under them and use a tool to saw the converter off in seconds.

A website for a New Jersey recycler lists prices for catalytic converters ranging from a low of $6 for those described as “foil or wire” converters that are small and short up to $500 for an “exotic” converter that is longer and generally comes from Japanese or European cars.

Reporter

Mary Schenk is a reporter covering police, courts and breaking news at The News-Gazette. Her email is mschenk@news-gazette.com, and you can follow her on Twitter (@schenk).

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