An alarming trend is on the rise nationwide, the theft of catalytic converters. Folks are getting jacked left and right in a matter of minutes, while they go to a grocery store, at home, or at a restaurant. Thieves are stealing catalytic converters from the underbelly of people's cars and trucks within 5-to-10 minutes. It's a fast and quiet process and victims don't notice they've been hit until they start their vehicle and it sounds like a tank. Why is this happening?

According to repairerdrivernews, recyclers will pay between $50-$250 per regular catalytic converter. Converters that come out of hybrid cars can bring a thief up to $1,500 or more, because of precious metals inside including platinum, palladium, and rhodium. So, they are worth some money. According to KPLC, there have been more than 74 cases of stolen catalytic converters in SWLA since June. Here's the good news, there are 5 things you can do to protect yourself and your vehicle.

1.) Etch your license plate number directly on the part. Police can track your converter if it's stolen.

2.) Always park in a well-lit area.

3.) Set your car alarm.

4.) Install bright motion sensor lights at your house.

5.) Invest in an anti-theft device that has a shield or a plate that can be bolted under your hood to cover up the catalytic converter.

By the way, catalytic converters are not only worth a lot of money to thieves, but they also cost a lot to replace. Depending on your vehicle, they could cost between $2,700 and $4,100, making them one of the most expensive items to replace. Be watchful everyone and be safe.

LOOK: The top holiday toys from the year you were born

With the holiday spirit in the air, it’s the perfect time to dive into the history of iconic holiday gifts. Using national toy archives and data curated by The Strong from 1920 to today, Stacker searched for products that caught hold of the public zeitgeist through novelty, innovation, kitsch, quirk, or simply great timing, and then rocketed to success.

More From Cajun Radio 1290 AM