VANCOUVER -- A Surrey, B.C., woman suggests tougher regulations might help prevent the theft of car parts.

Jessika MacLeod's vehicle was recently vandalized by someone trying to pry off the catalytic converter. She believes it happened while she was visiting Tynehead Park in Surrey.

When she tried to start up her Hyundai Tucson, she noticed something sounded off. She said she's never had any prior damage or collisions that could have caused the problem.

MacLeod said when she looked under the car, she noticed the cover over the catalytic converter was gone, and later found out thieves had tried to rip the converter itself off.

But it appears in this case the job was botched.

Still, she said she felt really angry "like anybody would.

"You came in to enjoy a regional park, and you get left with an expensive bill, and that feeling of violation."

MacLeod was able to get her SUV fixed, but says she wants to see regulations at scrapyards tightened up as a way to deter possible thefts.

While the thieves were unsuccessful in stealing MacLeod's converter, several similar incidents have been reported in B.C.'s Lower Mainland recently.

Mounties issued a warning in August to Richmond drivers about trucks being targeted, and police in Delta and Coquitlam also called attention to thefts in the summer. 

In September, the Surrey RCMP released a photo of a few brand new catalytic converters, saying they'd been found in an abandoned rental truck and appeared to have been stolen.

The exhaust emission control devices are hot items for thieves because of what they're made of, Const. Richard Wright told CTV News Tuesday.

"The catalytic converter on any vehicle contains some precious metals, which have some value when they are recycled scrap metal facilities," he said.

Wright, who is aware of MacLeod's police report, said in previous instances a trend emerged, allowing police to put together a property crime target team.

"We were able to successfully arrest individuals involved in catalytic converter thefts last year," he said.

Wright said anyone who has been a victim, even of an attempted theft, should contact the RCMP. Even in cases where there are no suspects and no surveillance video, the intelligence gathered from police reports can help lead to an arrest.

"The more people call us, the more we can identify issue areas – the target areas that these thieves are working in – and we can set up projects with our specialized teams to help combat this issue," he said.

With interviews from CTV News Vancouver's Regan Hasegawa