Washington Township police hold successful catalytic converter etch events
Etching events are popping up in efforts to combat catalytic converter thefts.
Washington Township recently partnered with local resident and business owner Mike Yacovane of Turnersville, Meineke Car Care, the National Insurance Crime Bureau and the Gloucester County Prosecutor’s Office to hold three days of etch events from April 10-12. Sixty residents came through for the opportunity to etch their catalytic converters free of charge.
“The response to the etching events has been overwhelming,” Police Chief Patrick Gurscik said, who said he thought the etch events were a great idea when he heard about it in November 2022.
Greg Wolf, a NICB representative, had made a presentation and proposal for etch events at the Gloucester County Police Chiefs meeting.
And with community caretaking at the heart of the Washington Township Police Department’s mission statement, the etch events have been a way for the department to not only help residents, but to also educate them as well.
“Catalytic converter thefts have risen 1,215% [from 2019 to 2022], according to the NICB, an industry group that tracks insurance-related crimes,” Gurscik said. “We have had catalytic converters stolen mostly in the overnight hours in commercial retail sections of town. Houses of worship have had their transportation buses victimized, local businesses have had delivery, fleet and box trucks victimized, car dealerships have been victimized” and we have had a few catalytic converters stolen off vehicles parked in driveways.
Engraving takes about 15 minutes per vehicle. To locate a local Catalytic Converter Etching event visit www.nicb.org/news/regional-news. If no events are currently scheduled in the area, residents can contact a muffler shop that can etch one’s vehicle VIN on the converter, and spray it with a highly visible high-heat paint. Doing so enables the NICB and law enforcement to track the converters.