NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Suspects steal cars and catalytic converters during the day and night and in driveways and parking lots. To help combat these brazen thefts, Gov. Ned Lamont signed a bill into law, which goes into effect July 1, that is aimed at cracking down on the sale of stolen catalytic converters.

Taking a proactive approach to curbing crime, the Ellington Police Department has increased overnight police patrols.

When asked if the goal is to prevent thefts or to try and apprehend thieves, Sgt. Brian Santa said, “the best way is deterrents, taking an approach of preventing it.”

“So, no, we’re not gonna advertise where we are,” Santa said. “We’re not gonna advertise when we’re gonna be there, but we’re gonna be out there. And we’re gonna be out there with our cruise lights on, and the cars hitting the main roads, checking all the businesses and local residences. It’s the best way. It’s active, aggressive patrolling.”

Thefts are happening across the state, including Milford, where a witness saw a man cutting off a catalytic converter in a Target parking lot. The suspect approached a witness’ car after seeing them take pictures of him and allegedly smashed their driver’s side window and swung the Sawzall around, injuring the witness’ arm. Police said the man taunted the witness to exit their car before leaving the scene.

“My big thing is having the residents contact us,” Santa said. “If you see something out of the ordinary, e-mail us, give us a call.”

Authorities said it’s important not to approach a suspect, but instead, make note of what the suspect looks like, the license plate number, and the car’s description.