"It makes you feel terrible. It's like having your house broken in, it is a violation."
Toyota Service Manager Ricky Beaver has seen a lot of angry and disappointed drivers recently. That's because thieves have stolen the catalytic converters right off their vehicles.
"They just come up, crawl underneath the vehicle, cut it off, and leave the scene very quickly," Beaver said.
The converter is part of the exhaust system that regulates the amount of gas fumes that come out of your vehicle. But it's the material used to make this part, that Beaver says has crooks seeing dollar signs.
"Its got platinum in it. And sometimes they will melt the converter down and sell them in the recycle business, or they might take them to a salvage shop."
With the price of metal rapidly increasing across the United States, the thieves are turning a quick profit.
"Somewhere between $100 to $200 apiece."
Gulfport Police recently issued a warning to citizens about catalytic converter theft, especially on SUVs. Sheriff Mike Byrd says his deputies are also on guard.
"We are going to contact the folks out at the junk yards to keep their eyes out for some of the people out there doing this," Sheriff Byrd said.
These converters are not cheap to replace. Beaver says the part can cost anywhere from $1,200 to $14,00. And that doesn't include the cost of labor.
Catalytic converter theft is just the latest way crooks are cashing on recycled metals. Copper theft has been a growing problem since Katrina. On Wednesday, Biloxi Police arrested two men on charges of stealing copper wire from the Biloxi Port Commission building off Bayview.