SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) – Lebanese police and auto shops are teaming up to stop catalytic converter thefts through the Etch and Catch program.
Sargent Kacie Springer says that last year the Lebanese Police Department had at least one catalytic converter theft per week in 2021. They are now partnering with several auto repair shops to prevent more thefts.
“It’s a devastating thing to come to your car in the morning and find out that someone has taken a $1,500 to $2,000 part from your car,” said Wyatt Danuser, director of Big O’ Tires. It’s a bit difficult to replace that. We want to help people the best we can and be there for the community.
A catalytic converter is part of the vehicle’s exhaust system and helps reduce vehicle pollution. Catalytic converters are located under a vehicle on the exhaust pipe, before the muffler. Catalytic converters are typically used with gasoline or diesel fueled internal combustion engines. Catalytic converters contain precious metals which have become a rare commodity for thieves. Theft of catalytic converters has become popular due to their value, relative ease of stealing, and lack of identifying marks. The lack of identification makes it difficult to identify victims and successfully apprehend and prosecute criminals.
Sargent Springer says Chief Brian Arnold began working with a West Coast police department that created a similar program. She says the department has had success and police have been able to track thefts more easily.
“We use an etching tool to draw the license plate number onto the catalytic converter, then spray paint it so it’s there permanently,” Danuser said. “That way when they take it to the scrapyard they can see what the license plate was.”
WHAT IF YOUR CATALYTIC CONVERTER IS STOLEN?
- If your catalytic converter is stolen, you’ll know right away when you start your vehicle. It will look like you have no mufflers at all (like noisy motorcycle mufflers). You can take your vehicle directly to a muffler shop/dealer to have the catalytic converter replaced. You DO NOT need your vehicle towed to the store.
- File a police report right away. There may have been other thefts in the area that will aid in the investigation. Provide the agent with your etched catalytic converter information so that your license plate number can be entered into the statewide database.
For a list of participating companies CLICK HERE.
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