UNDATED -- The Insurance Federation of Minnesota is sounding the alarm over an exponential increase in thefts of catalytic converters -- and spokesman Mark Kulda says Minnesota -- the Twin Cities in particular -- are at the epicenter:

These thieves are taking advantage of fewer police on the streets. They're taking advantage of the high price of these materials. They're taking advantage of the idea of they can sell these easily because we don't have enough tools to prevent it. And because of that, we're seeing this surge of these thefts.

Kulda says there are security measures -- such as motion detectors with cameras and lights, or even devices you can install over the catalytic converter -- that might discourage thieves.

But he says the best defense is to keep vehicles -- including fleet vehicles -- in a locked area.

Kulda says the number-one target is the Toyota Prius, which has a larger catalytic converter than other vehicles.  He says the Prius, Mitsubishi Outlander, and Mitsubishi Endeavor make up about half of all catalytic converter thefts.

This story is courtesy of the Minnesota News Network.  

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