(COLORADO SPRINGS) – The nationwide epidemic of catalytic converter theft is now hitting home. A local RV repair shop has become a repeat target for thieves.

Just in the past month, many of these car parts have been stolen from their customer’s RV’s. Customers who are now stuck with the costly replacement are now wondering who is buying these stolen catalytic converters.

In less than a month, Pro Tech RV has had six catalytic converters stolen from their lot.

“He’s [the thief] under the RV’s for a very short amount of time, typically about 3 minutes with his Sawzall and then he’s out,” said Natasha May, the general manager at Pro Tech RV.

This is why catalytic converter thefts have gained popularity, because the process of stealing them is quick.

“It takes time to take one out the right way, and the only people that are taking them out the right way are shops that are replacing them. So, if they’re [catalytic converters] coming in and they’ve been chopped off, they’re stolen,” said Josh Blalock, the owner of Pro Tech RV.

Catalytic Converters can be sold for good money because they contain valuable metals. According to the Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD), they can sell for up to $2,500.

Most reputable metal scrap yards will not accept a converter that has been cut, and require vehicle documentation proving that it was yours.

“Why is there a market for catalytic converters without proper paperwork?” asked Rhonda Scheppmann, whose catalytic converter was stolen while it was at Pro Tech RV.

The management at Pro Tech RV is asking the same question.

“These thieves are opportunists and if there’s an opportunity to sell something that they steal, they’re going to sell it. So, the shop that’s buying the stuff certainly isn’t helping the situation,” said Blalock.

The customers who thought they were getting maintenance done on their RV are now having to spend thousands of dollars to get their catalytic converter replaced.

“But you know, I feel so sorry for them because look at what they’re going through, this is terrible for the small business,” said Scheppmann.

Pro-tech RV is now spending thousands of dollars on repairs and security. They have had to mend and repair their wire fence, which the thief has been cutting, in order to get in. They have also bought an entirely new security system, are thinking of hiring a guard, and are looking into building a taller fence.

“It has had a huge impact on our business and our customers all around. A very negative one, having upset customers and them having to deal with their insurance, it makes them feel like they’ve lost trust in us being able to protect their RV’s while they’re here at our lot, which is really disappointing,” said May.

Specifically V10 catalytic converters have been stolen from their lot. If they get a customer with this specific catalytic converter, they said they have been trying to do the maintenance in one day or will keep it inside if it has to stay overnight.

According to CSPD, the department gets weekly calls about catalytic converter thefts, and said maintenance lots are targets for thieves.

“If you do decide to have your vehicle maintenance done… have the maintenance done that day, and then get the car out of there. Don’t leave it overnight because those vehicles that are in maintenance lots, they’re targets,” said Robert Tornabene, CSPD Public Information Officer.

Customers say that the metal scrap yards that are buying these stolen catalytic converters are just as much to blame as the thieves themselves.

“That person who’s accepting stolen property knowing full well, 99% sure it is stolen… That’s just awful,” said Scheppmann.