By CBSDFW.com Staff

DUNCANVILLE, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – They can be stolen off your vehicle — in less than two minutes. Catalytic converter thefts have been on the rise during the pandemic.

National estimates suggest a 300% rise in the cases since 2019. Thieves are looking for precious metals in the converters.

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The National Insurance Crime Bureau says vehicles most at risk are those with plenty of room underneath to easily move in and out, like trucks and SUVs. But vehicles like the Toyota Prius are also a common target because catalytic converters from hybrids are more valuable, and some models have two.

Duncanville resident Lawrence Marshall says his Prius was targeted on Monday. It was all caught on camera.

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At 3 a.m., thieves scoped out the cars in his parking garage. The thieves jacked up his vehicle, and within minutes were able to cut through the metal and remove one of the converters from the back of the car.

“Then it shows my alarm going off, which scared him away. But by that point, the damage was already done at that point. And it just really sucks because I’ve had that car and it’s been really good to me.”

Marshall says he knew something bad had happened after he turned on the car and saw the red triangle indicating engine failure. He knew it was the converter because he had heard that Priuses were targeted. He is waiting on parts. Until then he is stuck at home.

There are anti-theft devices on the market using steel cables or plates that can be installed to help prevent a catalytic converter from being stolen.

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You can also get the vin number etched on the converter so its easier for law enforcement to track it.

CBSDFW.com Staff