Thieves who stole a catalytic converter system from the underside of a large vehicle in Kennebec County made what appears to be a pretty clean cut in the vehicle's exhaust system. Credit: Kennebec County Sheriff's Office | BDN

Thieves are stealing catalytic converters from the exhaust systems of vehicles in Kennebec County and police are asking for the public’s help to catch them.

Three of the anti-pollution devices have been stolen in the towns of China, Manchester and Litchfield between April 2 and April 7, said Lieutenant J. Chris Read of the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Department.

The targeted vehicles, Read said, have been pickup trucks or vans that “allow suspects to get underneath the vehicle and use a reciprocating saw to cut the catalytic converter off. Catalytic converters have a precious metal in them, which makes them very valuable.”

The three stolen converters, which typically convert pollutants in engine exhaust gases into harmless compounds, will cost about $15,000 to replace, Reed said in a statement released Wednesday.

“The vehicles targeted tend to be near a roadway which would allow a suspect to commit the crime and be gone usually in less than a minute,” Read said.

Read asked anyone with information about the incidents to call the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office at 207-623-3614 ext. 1254.