12/06/2012 10:04 EST | Updated 12/06/2012 10:08 EST

Edmonton Auto Parts Thieves: Exhaust System On Pickup Trucks Hot Item For Theft

FILE- In this Sunday, June 24, 2012, file photo a new Dodge RAM 1500 pickup truck is for sale at an auto dealership in Springfield, Ill. Auto companies are betting on a surge in pickup sales now that home building is on the rise. Chrysler said Thursday, Nov. 15, 2012, it is adding 1,000 workers to its Ram pickup factory because it sees higher demand for the redesigned truck. Ford and General Motors also say truck sales are climbing fast after several years of small but steady growth. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman, File)

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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