The Suffolk County police are asking for the public's help in locating a trio of auto strippers who stole catalytic converters from "multiple" parked vehicles in Centereach.

The thefts took place Thursday about 5:20 a.m., according to the police. Investigators believe the suspects, who authorities said were recorded on surveillance cameras in the area, fled the scene in a pair of Audis, one gray, the other black.

A catalytic converter is part of a vehicle exhaust system and works as an emission control device, converting toxic pollutants from internal combustion engines.

Typically, a converter can cost $1,000 or more. Thieves often access the devices from under vehicles with high ground clearance, using a sawzall or pipe cutters to remove them in a matter of seconds, authorities have said. It was not immediately clear what tools police believe were used to remove and steal the catalytic converters in Centereach.

Police are asking anyone with information to contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS. All calls, texts and emails will remain confidential, and tipsters are eligible for a cash reward for information leading to an arrest in the case.

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