By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Catalytic converter thefts are skyrocketing and for the first time, investigators are joining forces from the Los Angeles Police Department and L.A. County Sheriff’s Department.

The task force is sharing an inside look into the catalytic converter crime ring spreading across the country.

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Police say, thieves, often with criminal records, use a saw to cut the converters from under cars and re-sell them for roughly $50.

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“The demand for its many uses is astronomical right now,” said Capt. Martin Rodriguez of the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department. “Electronic components, computers, cell phones and more importantly with the development of large batteries to run EV vehicles.”

A middle man sells the precious metals inside for a couple of hundred dollars to professional recyclers who make thousands from an endless supply of international buyers.

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For a list of ways you can protect your car or truck, go here.