CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago Police are urging vehicle owners to be vigilante after a recent string of thefts.

In some cases the thieves are targeting a small but valuable auto part.

CBS 2’s Jeremy Ross has the story.

Investigators are looking into three different types car crimes.

All are violations for the victims but some are very preventable.

Police say at least two thieves ransacked rides at 52nd and Laflin.

And another location in the Deering neighborhood.

Three incidents this month for one piece of car equipment: the catalytic converter.

“I’ve heard you can get anywhere from $50.00 to $150.00 at a scrapyard,” says Rick Bailey of Gearhead Workspace who adds that the metals inside the converters are what makes them so valuable.

As for the victim who needs to replace what’s taken?

“Anywhere from $500 to $5,000. It depends on the type of car,” says Bailey.

On Thursday the type of car this accused thief was looking for was simply one that was unlocked.

Police are looking for the person who got into this vehicle parked in River North and got out with hundreds of dollars in electronics.

Larry Becker lives in Albany Park.

“I know there was one stolen recently about a block from this house,” says Becker.

Police say in the past month nine cars were stolen here.

In nearly half of those incidents the victims left the cars running with the keys in the ignition.

“I’m sorry but how stupid do you have to be,” says Becker.

If you know anything about the crimes mentioned you’re asked to call Chicago Police.

Listen Live