Etch and Protect your catalytic convertors

Police want to curb thefts of the valuable vehicle parts.

Evesham police partnered with Burns Honda in Marlton late last month for Etch and Protect, a free program that seeks to deter vehicle theft in the area by marking catalytic converters.

Converter theft has been an issue in states across the country. It takes only minutes for the part to be removed from a car, then sold for its valuable metals. Evesham Police Chief Walt Miller said the informational program was initiated during discussions between his  department and the car dealership, its host.

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“The department) had seen an increase in the number of those thefts recently,” he noted. “(We reached out to the dealership to share) ways that we thought we could address that issue.”

Each vehicle registered for the event – about 150 – had its individual VIN (vehicle identification number) etched onto the catalytic converter. The engravings were then coated with a liquid to prevent scraping off or corrosion. Miller explained why the process  can deter potential theft and also help officers locate stolen converters. 

“We’re hoping that people looking to steal a catalytic converter see the vehicle has a sticker that says the vehicle’s converter is protected through this program, and they opt not to steal it,” he explained. 

“Also, if we’re doing an investigation at a place that purchases catalytic converters and we come across one that has a VIN etched in it … we can then locate what vehicle that part came from, link it back to the owner, and hopefully identify the suspect,” Miller added.

The chief also encouraged residents to take precautions as catalytic converter thefts continue to rise. 

“We’ve been experiencing thefts in both residential and commercial areas,” he noted. “Most of them have been occurring overnight, so be sure to park in well-lit areas if possible. If you hear a power tool being operated in the vicinity of your home, call the police so we can come out and investigate.”

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