CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — The University of Illinois Police Department is investigating the theft of four catalytic converters in one day from campus parking lots.

Police said four U of I employees separately reported that their vehicles’ catalytic converters had been stolen during the day, between 8:15 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 4, all from university lots in Champaign.

Officials said the thefts occurred in the following lots: C-16, 411 E. Daniel St., Champaign; C-6, 402 E. Daniel St., Champaign; and two in E-12, 503 E. Gregory Drive, Champaign.

The estimated costs to repair the vehicles are $1,000 each, police said.

Authorities have been dealing with an increase in catalytic converter thefts in Champaign-Urbana over the last few years, with repair costs totaling over $11,000 just in 2023. That includes three other thefts in January and February.

UIPD said two catalytic converters were reported stolen in parking lot D-21 in Urbana on Feb. 2. Police said the costs to repair the vehicles were $3,300 and $3,000.

Additionally, UIPD said that a U of I employee reported that a catalytic converter had been stolen on Jan. 17 from a university-owned vehicle outside the Document Services building on Gregory Drive in Champaign. Police said the estimated cost to repair the vehicle was $1,000.

In 2022, after a lull in theft on-campus theft reports throughout the summer and fall, U of I Police began to regularly report catalytic converter thefts again starting in November. Twelve catalytic converters were reported as being stolen in that month alone. Another four catalytic converters were also reported stolen in December.

The catalytic converter thefts are part of a larger, nationwide trend that has been on the rise since 2019. State Farm Insurance reported earlier this year that the amount of catalytic converter theft claims in Illinois more than quadrupled since 2019, and that Illinois ranked third in the nation for catalytic converter theft.