Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Tuesday Tip - "Etch & Catch"

KABC 7 ran a story that featured an effort by the Anaheim PD in helping to prevent the theft of catalytic converters from vehicles. This crime has been growing in the last year and Arcadia residents/visitors have been victimized as well. Catalytic converters are easily stolen from vehicles like SUV's and pick-up trucks since they are higher off the ground. Thieves will remove the converters by cutting them with hacksaws, torches or sometimes unbolting the device. It only takes a few minutes to complete the theft, leaving the victim with an expensive fix. The catalytic converters are sold for the value of metals inside the unit.

A program that has been used throughout the State to help prevent this type of theft is called "Etch & Catch". Police and volunteers will etch the vehicle identification number (VIN) or vehicle license number on the surface of the catalytic converter. By marking the converter, the possibility of recovery and locating a victim is greatly increased. It may also make the scrap yard operator or person considering buying the stolen item give it a second thought and hopefully, call the police. VIN and license numbers are easily run by Officers in the field and can lead to finding the victim. Catalytic converters are not serialized and it is difficult to readily associate them to a particular vehicle.

A similar program was conducted in Placer County earlier in the summer. See the news story HERE. Take a moment to mark your vehicle catalytic converter. Use a small etching tool and inscribe your VIN or license number on the device. Just like marking valuables in your home, this simple step can help recover your stolen items if you are victimized.

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