Police hope engraving on catalytic converters stops thefts - KCTV5

Police hope engraving on catalytic converters stops thefts

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Thieves stealing the catalytic converter off of cars and leaving the owners with a big repair bill is becoming more and more common, but now there's something that can be done about it.

Lenexa police hope engraving the license plate number on catalytic converters could be the answer to avoiding a very costly crime.

"It was the middle of the night, about 3 a.m. according to our video cameras. It took them five minutes to hit three trucks," said Mark Hayward of Anthony's Heating and Plumbing.

The five minutes cost Hayward more than $3,000 in repairs after someone stole catalytic converters off three work trucks. A week later the thieves were back and hit three more trucks.

"It's totally frustrating because if you start off your day and you don't have a truck, you can't use it, you can't drive it on the road so you are shut down for the day," Hayward said.

Lenexa police say they've taken 18 reports of catalytic converter thefts since Jan. 1. The parts are popular because they contain platinum and other valuable metals netting between $50 to $200 each at scrap yards. Once the part is swiped, it's gone.

"Anytime we recover a catalytic converter we don't have any way of tracing it back to the individual because there's no identifying information on it," said Master Patrol Officer Dan Frieson.

To fix that police in Lenexa, KS, are following California's lead by engraving the license plate number of the vehicle on the catalytic converter then spraying it with heat-resistant paint.

"These guys probably aren't doing this in the middle of the day so, when you are underneath the vehicle, it's going to be noticeable," said Bill Pearce of William's Automotive.

Some Lenexa companies are donating the paint for the project and automotive shops like William's are doing the engraving for free.

Police expect the engraving to deter the thieves from stealing the part since it's suddenly traceable. If not, then maybe scrap yards will no longer give them a place to sell their stolen goods.

"Hopefully they'll look at it that way where they don't want to accept the material because of that marking," Frieson said.

Below is a complete list of all the businesses involved:

  • Anthony's Heating and Plumbing - 15203 W. 99th St., Lenexa, KS 66219
  • William's Automotive - 13201 W. 91st Terrace, Lenexa, KS 66215
  • Westlake Ace Hardware - 14000 Marshall Dr., Lenexa, KS 66215
  • AT&T
  • O'Reilly Auto Parts - 9500 Marshall Dr., Lenexa, KS 66215
  • Charlie's Brake and Muffler - 12912 Santa Fe Trail Dr., Lenexa, KS 66215
  • Autotopia - 13012 Santa Fe Trail Dr., Lenexa, KS 66215
  • Shore Tire - 9300 Marshall Dr., Lenexa, KS 66215

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