EVERETT, Wash. — The Everett Police Department announced a new project Tuesday to prevent and track catalytic converter thefts.
It's called Project CATCON ID and allows Everett residents to make a free appointment at the city's motor shop, where a mechanic will engrave the vehicle's catalytic converter with its vehicle identification number (VIN) and highlight the number.
"This will allow us to track those catalytic converters and make it easier to figure out where they're going, who they're being sold to, and make it easier to track down the perpetrators and make arrests," said Everett police officer Kerby Duncan.
Drivers will also receive a window sticker that says the converter has been tagged.
"Our first hope is that would-be thieves will see the sticker or the engraving with the highlight and decide not to steal your catalytic converter," explained Duncan.
Catalytic converters are made of precious metals, and right now, they are a hot item among thieves. Everett police have seen thefts quadruple over six months, from eight reported thefts in January to 35 in June.
Duncan recognizes this as a growing problem across Puget Sound. In June, Kent police recovered more than 800 catalytic converters that had been stolen across the region.
"We understand that it's a nuisance and frustrating for owners to come out and find that important piece of their vehicles now missing, and it'll cost several grand to replace," said Duncan. "So, this is just one of the ideas we've been working towards."
The department is still finding ways to investigate the thefts. With the new Project CATCON ID, Duncan said Everett police will be watching for a change in the number of catalytic converters stolen.
"The more converters we can get engraved, the better," explained Duncan.
Everett police's first Project CATCON ID event is Aug. 21. The department opened appointments for the event Tuesday and said they were filled in under two hours. Duncan said the department has other events planned, and those dates will be announced on the city of Everett's website.