The North Reading Police Department is urging local residents to store their metal items out of sight in a secure location due to a significant spike in the number of thefts of metal. Among the items stolen: catalytic converters that were cut from the underside of parked vehicles, manhole covers and storm drains, and copper wiring from local cell towers. According to police, both private homes and businesses are at risk as thieves look to recycle metal for profit. Residents and business owners are urged to lock up and store out of sight their appliances, auto parts, bicycles, farm equipment, machinery, lawn mowers, motorcycles, sheet metal, pipes, beams, rebar, brass, copper insulated wire, batteries, electric motors, and any other items containing lead, zinc, and other metals. Police are asking residents to report suspicious vehicles that may be involved in scrap-metal thefts by calling the North Reading Police Department at 978-664-3131. If possible, provide the license plate and vehicle description, including make, model, and color. Anonymous tips may also be called in to 978-657-TIPS (8477). To text a tip to the police anonymously, send a text to 847411.