ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Law enforcement agencies across New York state are concerned by a rise in catalytic converters thefts.

Colon’s Auto has been a staple of the North Clinton neighborhood for more than 50 years.

“We get to see everybody we’ve known since we were kids,” owner Emiliano Colon said. “We started with the older generation my father had, to the newer generation coming up with their kids.”

Originally his father’s garage, Colon is proud to be carrying on his work.

“It’s a family trade, something in the blood I guess,” Colon said.

Recently his shop has seen an influx of cars come in, missing their catalytic converters.

“Almost on a daily basis, we see it happen,” Colon said. “We sold a vehicle here, and one of my customers, three days later, they stole his off his vehicle.”

This is the result of a recent string of thefts the Monroe County Sheriff’s Department is saying is being seen across the country.

“These are people that are just going to work, they’re going out to dinner with their families, they’re parking their cars in a public parking spot and when they come back out, surprise," MCSO Sergeant Keith Ball said.

Ball says the parts are being stolen for the precious metals found inside, which have skyrocketed in price.

“If you cut a converter off a car and took it into a recycle place, you’re probably looking to get a couple hundred bucks for it,” Ball said.

Officials say there have been 1,154 converters stolen in Monroe County this year, already outpacing the number of thefts for the entire year of 2021. And the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles says some areas are seeing thefts up by 200%.

“We’ve seen videos where they pull up to a car, they crawl underneath the car with a battery-operated handsaw, and in less than a minute they’re back out with the converter and on to the next person’s car,” Ball said.

In fact, Colon is a victim of this crime too, prompting him to upgrade his security system around the garage.

“We had one stolen here a few months ago, it was an Acura MDX,” Colon said. “It’s very concerning. Because damaged property, stolen property… insurance goes up.”

Repairs can cost up to a couple of thousand dollars and take weeks, with a shortage of car parts across the country.

“Now we have customers who are upset who think we’re not giving them the service they deserve or want, and then you’ve got the people who have to pay for it who don’t have the means to pay for it,” Colon said.

Ball says the best thing someone can do is be vigilant.

“We’re seeing this crime happen in broad daylight, in public parking lots with people walking around and observing it,” Ball said. “So what we are asking people to do is be on the lookout.”

Colon is just tired of all the hurting in his beloved community.

“It’s been rough out here. I grew up on Clinton Avenue, my father still lives on Clinton,” Colon said. “The way this city is going with the crime it’s hard to keep track of everything. I know it’s in the city and in the inner-city but it’s just hard. They’re real sneaky.”