OHIO – One Ohio police department is going beyond regular service and offering a tactic that may deter thieves from stealing catalytic converters.
Kettering police department is offering by appointment only a catalytic converter marking program. The police department explains
When a converter comes from the manufacturer there is nothing specific to link it to the original vehicle. Some scrapyards take names but not all of them do. There’s money to be made in this so the unscrupulous will continue to take them with no questions asked.
It is not illegal to possess catalytic converters, so if an officer makes a traffic stop and the person has converters there isn’t much the officer can do beyond asking questions and look for leads on where they got the converters. Many times the officer has to let the person go with only the information given because we cannot prove they’re stolen.
This is where the marking comes into importance. By marking the converter with the VIN, it ties it directly back to the vehicle it was on when marked. Officers can run the VIN, find the owner, and have them check the vehicle. If the owner says yes, it’s stolen! We can now arrest the person for receiving stolen property.
The paint is a deterrent. When the thief slides under the car they are going to see the paint and know something is up with that converter and will likely move on to another vehicle that is not marked. They also know if they get stopped with a painted converter officers are going to dig much deeper. This increases their chance of getting caught, which lessens their desire to steal the converter.
Grinding the paint and VIN off takes time and increases the chance of getting caught. Thieves don’t want to do anything that will draw attention. If they don’t remove it, even the unscrupulous scrapyards will be less likely to take it because it will draw attention to their practices.
The paint used to mark the converter is high-heat engine paint that withstands temperatures 1300-2000°F. A converter’s average temperature is 500-800°F. To increase adherence of the paint it is applied to a hot converter, essentially baking the paint on. This makes it more difficult to remove and making it more work for the thief. This program has been shared with all the local departments so if an officer outside of Kettering stops a vehicle with a marked converter they know what to look for.
The department is offering this to the public this service with a partnership with a local Midas service ship once in a while currently all appointest are filled currently.