The rash of thefts of catalytic converters from vehicles has caused one southwest Missouri business to throw in the towel.

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The stealing of catalytic converters has become popular among thieves because they contain precious metals like platinum and rhodium and are being sold on the black market.

One business person who has been especially hard hit by this thievery is Levine Cunningham, who has operated a shuttle service known as The Branson Loop for the last seven years.

In a social media post, Cunningham said that it was with, "a heavy heart," that he was closing his business September 28. He said that, "with the lack of workers, rising expenses, and the high desire for people to steal catalytic converters off of our vehicles every other week," led to the decision to shut down.

In an interview with the Branson Tri-Lakes News, Cunningham said, "All our vehicles are on their second, and I have one on its third catalytic converter. I had two more stolen this weekend and it's gotten to the point where I'm just done."

Cunningham said he's had stuff stolen at their offices, around Branson and even had a catalytic converter stolen from a vehicle that was in a shop getting other repairs.

Replacement converters have to be special ordered, causing Cunningham to be without that vehicle for a week, causing him to lose business.

And, to add insult to injury, thieves have to be caught in the act or confess before they can be prosecuted.

Cunningham apologized for the inconvenience the closing would cause.

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