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Gord Nelson holds up a catalytic converter at the Nelson Garage in Montreal Friday Jan.18, 2008. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz

London police say there has been a significant increase in thefts of catalytic converters in the last month, primarily in the downtown area.

There have been 22 thefts reported since Nov. 1, and a total of 52 since the beginning of 2019.

SUVs and trucks from Honda, Ford and Hyundai that are 2010 models or newer are the main targets.

While thefts have happened across the city, police say most have been vehicles parked in lots in the downtown core.

Catalytic converters are part of the vehicle's exhaust system and contain valuable materials that are sold to scrap yards for cash. The replacement cost can be as high as $2,000.

You can tell your converter is missing if you hear a loud roaring or rumbling sound when the vehicle is running that gets louder when you accelerate.

The public is being urged to report any theft immediately and to park in well-lit areas, garages or close to a building entrance or road when possible.