ISRI has partnered with the International Association of Auto Theft Investigators (IAATI) to provide tips to vehicle owners to fight against the epidemic of catalytic converter theft that continues amidst the high price of precious metals. In a press release the two organizations published March 18, they lay out the following tips:
Engrave a marking in the catalytic converter.
Engrave a number, such as the entire vehicle identification number (VIN), the last four digits of the VIN, or the license plate number (along with the state or province), ISRI and IAATI recommend. Engravers can be purchased for approximately $20 at most local hardware stores. They suggest using caution to ensure the engraver does not damage the catalytic converter.
If you’d rather not attempt engraving, buy a marker kit.
Commercially produced marker kits include an ultra-destruct label—which break into pieces if an attempt is made to remove them—that marks an identification number onto the catalytic converter; metal etching fluid, which applies the same unique code into the metal; and a secure registration database. Even if a thief removes the label, the etched number information will remain clearly readable, ISRI and IAATI say.
Spray-paint your catalytic converter.
Buy a high-temperature spray paint and paint your catalytic converter a bright color, ISRI and IAATI suggest. The associations recommend using this method in conjunction with one of the other two marking methods.
While the marking strategies can help law enforcement or others identify the original owner of a stolen catalytic converter, the main purpose of marking is deterring the theft from happening in the first place, the associations say. Other ways to reduce the likelihood of catalytic converter theft include parking in a garage or other secured area, installing a bright motion-sensor light, installing an anti-theft device, locking and alarming the car, and parking commercial fleets and minimally used vehicles in a well-lit yard.
“We knew we wanted to send out something that was preventative,” says Brady Mills, ISRI’s director of law enforcement outreach. ISRI and IAATI—which also has a working group focused on catalytic converter theft—have been collaborating on solutions to the problem since fall 2020. Mills hopes these suggestions will spur some businesses and other organizations in the distribution network to create local community marking programs to help tamp down theft.