WICHITA, Kan. -

Thieves have been stealing more than purses, electronics and gifts from cars parked at shopping malls. But the crime isn't new.

Police said the thieves are slipping under cars, cutting catalytic converters within minutes, and reselling them on the black market.

Officers have investigated 19 cases in Wichita this year, with more reports over the holiday shopping season. Marty Hunt said thieves stole his catalytic converter from under his truck while he was shopping at Towne East Square Monday night.

Some of the catalytic converters have brass, copper and other precious metals in them.

"It's just tragic that they can make a profit off of this," Marty said. "Somebody is buying these things from them and has to know that they're stolen."

Police said thieves are crossing state lines and reselling the parts in Oklahoma. The older ones resell for about $50 to $60, but can cost more than $300 to $400 to replace.