CONWAY, Ark. (KTHV) -- Car trouble kept a handful of college students at UCA and Arkansas Tech from heading off on spring break.

The reason: a rash of thefts of catalytic converters on each car's exhaust systems. The thefts started Thursday according to UCA Police. A student discovered the part had been cut out from under the car.

Officers looked around in the same lot and found more victims. Another set of reports came into police yesterday and they issued a security alert. Then, up the road in Russellville, Arkansas Tech issued a similar alert about thefts on that campus.

Officials there included tips for avoiding being a victim such as: park in well-lit areas or get a kit to prevent converter thefts. Also, if the part is bolted in place, consider cutting the bolt heads off.

Thieves target the part because they are easy to cut out and can fetch easy money at a metal recycler.