Mechanicsburg, Pa. (WHTM)- Catalytic converter thefts are on the rise nationwide and thieves are targeting car dealerships.

“I know there are several dealers in the area that have been hit,” said Mike Dorazio.

Dorazio owns Platinum Central Pennsylvania. He has 6 locations in the midstate. So far, thieves have hit the Carlisle and Mechanicsburg locations

“Just in the last 6-7 months we have been hit 4 times and they have gotten away with anywhere from 7 to 8 catalytic converters at each location,” said Dorazio.

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It takes just a few minutes to make off with a catalytic converter, and thieves love them because they’re made of precious metals, including platinum, which can be sold for anywhere from $50 to a $1,000.

“It is an organized effort through social media and other networks of liquidation. That is prompting these people to go do this,” said Dorazio.

For the victims, it can cost as much as $3,000 to fix the damage and they may have to wait a while. The rise in catalytic converter thefts has also caused a backlog in replacement parts.

For Dorazio that is 15 cars.

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“Some of these cars sit 6,7,8 months waiting on a replacement catalytic converter, so we cant sell it and if its a consumers car that is hit, sometimes they cant use that car anymore either,” said Dorazio.

Some dealerships are putting vin numbers right on the converters to try and prevent thefts

“So that when it goes to the end user if he sees a vin they will refuse the purchase. It does give them some sort of way to track that,” said Dorazio. “There are several different police departments that are working on this, the State Police are aware of this , the U.S. Marshalls are aware of it. It is a rampant problem.”

The best thing to do is store your car in a garage. If you can’t, you can ask a dealership about installing an anti-theft kit.