(WHTM) — According to CARFAX, thieves can make $300 selling a stolen catalytic converter; Converters from hybrid vehicles can sell for $1,400.

Catalytic converter thefts are in the news every week and you or someone in your family may have had their car’s converter stolen. So how you can prevent this before it happens?

Larry Groves can no longer use his white van that meant so much to the non profit soup kitchen he directs.

“We came out to start up the vehicle, and it sounded like a truck,” Groves said.

Overnight, thieves had cut the catalytic converter off, leaving the van useless.

“Sure enough the catalytic converter was gone,” he added.

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The estimate for a new one? Upwards of $2,000!

“The ministry don’t have that kind of money,” Groves said.

Shop owner Matt Overbeck says thieves can remove converters, filled with valuable rhodium and palladium, in seconds.

“Real quick cut here with a reciprocating saw. They then sell them for big bucks,” Overbeck said. “Some of these converters have a scrap value of a thousand dollars.”

The simplest thing to do is make sure you park in a secure and well lit area at night. But what if you have to park on the street? Especially with a vehicle that sits higher up?

Thankfully, there are some extra steps you can take.

Overbeck says if you park in a risky area at night you can now protect your car for $200-$300.

“Some companies have begun to make guards, shields, to cover your catalytic converter,” he said.

They are metal plates that a thief can’t easily cut off.

For around $50, Amazon and auto parts stores now sell catalytic converter alarms that you strap on the converter. If the converter is shaken while parked, a loud alarm goes off.

Back at the soup kitchen, Groves and his volunteers are now using their personal cars.

“It’s a constant struggle each and every day,” Groves said.

The simplest thing you can do is park in a well-lit spot. People and traffic going by can scare off thieves and so you don’t waste your money.