EVERETT, Wash — Want to stop your catalytic converter from getting stolen? The Everett Police Department has one more trick in its toolkit to prevent theft.
Through the police department’s Project CATCON ID program, mechanics engrave catalytic converters with part of your car’s VIN number to help police track the converter back to your car if it gets stolen.
The department will host a free engraving event Jan. 25 at Sno-Isle Tech in Everett – the third engraving event it has held since the program launched last summer. The event will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and is first come, first served.
Mechanics will engrave the last eight digits of your car’s VIN number on the converter and provide you with a sticker that indicates the converter is engraved.
Everett Police Department Officer Kerby Duncan said the hope is that the sticker deters thieves from stealing your converter but if it does get stolen, it will be easier for police to track it down and return it to you.
“There’s a lot of people who maybe have catalytic converters in their car when we pull them over or contact them, and we can’t prove that the catalytic converters they have are stolen,” Duncan said.
Catalytic converter thefts have risen sharply across western Washington and the U.S. In Everett, Duncan said thefts have “skyrocketed,” doubling or tripling over the last few years.
The converters have caught the eye of thieves, because they contain precious metals, which can be extracted and sold for thousands by the ounce. Once stolen, many converters get sold to scrap or recycling yards.
In addition to the engraving, Duncan shared several other tips to deter catalytic converter thieves:
Park in a well-lit, busy area. Duncan said catalytic converter thefts are crimes of opportunity and most often happen when your car is in a dark or secluded location.
Have metal bars installed over your converter. If you can afford it, metal bars will slow down criminals and could make them think twice.
Park in front of a doorbell camera or security footage. If the catalytic converter theft is on video, it can help police solve the crime faster.