EDMONTON - An expensive component in the exhaust system on pickup trucks has become a hot item for thieves in the Edmonton region.

Police say there have been 60 suspected thefts of catalytic converters over the past year, primarily involving North American-made trucks.

Diesel-powered models are particularly attractive to thieves but investigators are not sure where the parts are going, or whether they're being sold in an underground market.

The component, which can cost thousands of dollars, converts pollutants into less harmful emissions before they leave the vehicle's- exhaust system.

Scott Held, a spokesman for a Chrysler Dodge Jeep dealership in Sherwood Park, says demand for the converters has outstripped the supply and victims may face a long wait for a replacement.

Police recommend truck owners park in a well-lit area and be aware of any suspicious activity around their vehicles.

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  • Stretchy Pants Bandit

    Leonard Brown, Jr. is accused of robbing a Ceres, Calif. Ban of America in late September, 2012. He has been dubbed the "Stretchy Pants Bandit" by police.

  • These surveillance photos provided by the Federal Bureau of Investigation's St. Louis Division shows a serial bank robber dubbed the Bucket List Bandit on, from left: June 21, June 27 and July 6, 2012. The FBI is using digital billboards around the country in the search for the man who is suspected of robberies in Missouri, Colorado, Arizona, Idaho, Utah, North Carolina, Tennessee and Illinois. He earned his nickname after he passed a note in one of the robberies claiming he had a short time to live. (AP Photo/FBI)

  • In this undated surveillance video frame grab released by the FBI showing a bank robber dubbed the "Plain Jane Bandit". The FBI says a Southern California bank robber dubbed the "Plain Jane Bandit" has struck again. The latest heist was Monday July 30,2012 at a Bank of America branch in Downey, Calif. Since July 12, the robber has hit seven banks. (AP Photo/FBI)

  • EDS NOTE: IMAGE WAS ALTERED BY SOURCE - This surveillance image provided by the King County Sheriff's Office shows a man armed with an assault rifle grabbing money while robbing a Chase bank in North Bend, Wash., on July 6, 2012. The FBI says the man is the same suspect who robbed a bank Feb. 29, 2012 in Chino, Calif., during which the robber shot and wounded a police officer., and a March 12 bank robbery in Vacaville, Calif. He is known as the "AK-47 bandit" because he brandished an AK-style assault rifle during the three robberies to which he's linked. (AP Photo/King County Sheriff's Office)

  • Colton Harris-Moore

    FILE - In this Dec. 16, 2011, file photo, Colton Harris-Moore, also known as the "Barefoot Bandit," appears at the Island County Superior Court, in Coupeville, Wash. Harris-Moore, who led police on a two-year crime spree in stolen boats, cars and planes, has been moved out of solitary confinement and into the general inmate population at another prison in Washington state, corrections officials confirmed Thursday, May 3, 2012. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

  • This July 15, 2010 security photo provided by the New York Police Department on Monday, July 19, 2010 shows a man police say robbed a bank armed with a bouquet of fresh flowers, in New York. Police say he reached into the arrangement and pulled out a note demanding $100 and $50 bills and warned, "Don't be a hero." He was given an undisclosed amount of cash before fleeing the Bank of Smithtown in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. (AP Photo/NYPD)

  • In Australia, 'Buxom Bandit' Allegedly Commits Rookie Robbery

    Police in Queensland, Australia are searching for a man and woman accused of holding up a gas station with a knife.

  • Geezer Bandit

    FILE - This Monday, June 7, 2010 file photo provided by the FBI shows a suspect identified as the "Geezer Bandit" robbing a USA Bank branch in Poway, Calif. Authorities say the robber branded "The Geezer Bandit" because he appeared to be old might actually be wearing a mask. FBI spokeswoman Laura Eimiller said Friday the man was seen sprinting across a parking lot after his most recent holdup this month. (AP Photo/FBI)