DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) — Two catalytic converters were stolen off of vehicles used by Decatur City Schools, according to assistant superintendent of Decatur City Schools Dwight Satterfield.

Officials say the theft happened around 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 16. The vehicles were parked in a fenced area of the school system’s maintenance shop located near Central Parkway in Decatur. Surveillance video showed that the brazen thief scaled the seven-foot fence to cut out the converters.

The suspect, according to school video cameras, was underneath the vehicles for about 30 seconds.  

According to local law enforcement in North Alabama, over the past several months, the number of catalytic converter thefts has skyrocketed. Decatur City schools are just the latest victims of brazen thieves. 

“We’ve noticed the rash of thefts. The one on Saturday [included] several businesses around us,” Satterfield said. “We were just fortunate to have surveillance cameras that caught some good pictures. We’re hoping that someone in the community will do the right thing and help not only the school system but other businesses in Decatur to identify these individuals.”

Satterfield said this makes over $4,000 in expenses to Decatur City Schools from thefts for the last two weeks.

Catalytic converters are used as a clean air agent for vehicles. They are stolen for the value in the metal. A thief will fetch more than $300 for each converter depending on the vehicle. But it costs thousands to replace them if it is stolen.  

Last week, the school system reported a catalytic converter cut off of a vehicle parked outside the Decatur Middle School’s cafeteria. Officials say that the theft happened on Thursday, April 14 between 5:30 a.m. and 6:15 a.m. Tires were also stolen from a school vehicle at some point between April 4 and 14.

School officials say police reports have been filed on all of these incidents. If you have information related to these thefts, contact Decatur Police at 256-341-4600.