Suspect targets work trucks in string of catalytic converter thefts

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BROOKFIELD, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Two police departments, four businesses, and thousands of dollars in damage. The common link, stolen catalytic converters.

Brookfield police are looking for a suspect who's stealing the expensive car parts from business vehicles.

Police said the suspect was able to steal three catalytic converters in two minutes.

All the targeted businesses appear to have work vehicles parked out in the open.

Under the cover of darkness, surveillance video showed the suspect backing his Buick Rendezvous into position, cutting the headlights off and getting to work, right up until the suspect dropped beneath a group of vans at United Mailing Services in Brookfield.

The company didn't return an interview request Friday, but Brookfield police said the suspect stole three catalytic converters off of three vans.

He was done in two minutes.

The theft appears to be the latest in a string in the area.

Another business within a quarter mile also had a catalytic converter cut off its delivery van. The company is now parking the vehicle in a more visible spot.

A third business was struck also. The same suspect vehicle appears to be caught on surveillance footage.

Catalytic converters are drawing thieves because the precious metals they contain are worth thousands more per ounce than gold.

Butler police put out a warning after a plumbing company work truck was targeted Thursday morning.

Two catalytic converters were cut off the vehicles, worth $2,000.

The surveillance photos show what appears to be the same suspect vehicle.

Brookfield police are now coordinating with Butler police to check their notes and see if it's a match.

Wisconsin requires scrap buyers to keep a log of people selling them catalytic converters.

Every state has similar laws too, but there's still a market out there for thieves to turn catalytic converters into cash.

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