Catalytic Converter Theft Prevention Kits

CATPAThe Firestone Police Department has partnered with local automotive shops and the Colorado Auto Theft Prevention Authority (CATPA) to provide community members with FREE catalytic converter theft prevention kits. 

Christian Brothers Automotive (6179 Firestone Blvd.), Brakes Plus (4555 City Centre Rd), Onorato Garage (730 First St), and Firestone Complete Auto Care (4515 City Centre Rd) all have catalytic converter theft prevention kits (CatETCH Kits) and have agreed to install them on vehicles that are in their shops for other services when requested. In addition, the Firestone Police Department has kits available for residents who prefer to install them themselves. 

Over the past few years, catalytic converter thefts have increased substantially over the last few years in Colorado. The impacts of catalytic converter theft on the car owner often include temporary loss of a vehicle until repairs are made, replacement and installation costs of the catalytic converters, and potential effects on insurance rates. Because of this, the department is proud to partner with CATPA and these local automotive businesses to help prevent these thefts and deter this type of crime in our community.

What is a Catalytic Converter?

A catalytic converter is an emissions control device that is a part of the exhaust system on vehicles powered by an internal combustion engine. Catalytic converters reduce toxic pollutants by chemically converting carbon monoxide, unburned hydrocarbons, and oxides of nitrogen into harmless compounds.

Why are Catalytic Converters being stolen?

Catalytic converters are targeted for theft because of the precious metals they contain, such as platinum, palladium, and/or rhodium, which can yield fast cash to a thief. Because the value of precious metals increasing, the theft of catalytic converters has skyrocketed in many Colorado communities.

Although the theft of a catalytic converter may be lucrative to thieves, vehicle owners can experience up to and in excess of $2,000 in replacement costs.

One of the factors complicating this crime is most catalytic converters are not marked or identified. This creates difficulties for law enforcement in identifying these components as stolen.

The CatETCH Kits 

CATETCH-Catalytic-Converter-Theft-PreventionThe kits include unique 3M heat-proof, destruct-proof, and tamper-proof labels intended to be directly applied to the catalytic converters and then coated with the marking applicator gel. Once activated through the natural heat of the vehicle, the applicator gel uses the label as a stencil and creates a permanent etching into the catalytic converter.  The labels and the etching itself are unique numbers that, when registered, become permanently associated with the vehicle's VIN through CCIC/NCIC.

These labels act as a deterrent to stop thieves from stealing the catalytic converter. But, if stolen, the product allows for the catalytic converter to be identified, tracked, and positively identified as a stolen article. This aids law enforcement in reducing and eliminating catalytic converter theft in the community. 

Next Steps

If you want to pick up a CatETCH Kit from the Firestone Police Department, stop by anytime between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday – Friday at 9900 Park Avenue, or contact the businesses listed above to coordinate and schedule your services.


Does this work?

CATPA has had promising results and has rolled out about 20,000+ kits statewide. There have been 43 of these stolen, and at least 6 recoveries of the catalytic converters due to this program. But they also report anecdotal stories that community members see on their ring doorbell, a thief with a saw slides under their vehicle and then leaves without cutting the CAT off, presumably, because they saw the label.

Can a thief remove the sticker?

Yes, a thief could remove the label, but the etching will be in the metal. If the thief then tries to exchange the converter at a metal recycler, that metal recycler is now required to investigate all markings on the converter for signs of ownership and check to see if reports have been made. This will also have the intake of the thief's license, vehicle plate info, and photo. That way, if a thief is exchanging stolen articles, the recycling industry will be able to work with law enforcement to have this corrected.

Do the recyclers care?

The recycling industry has been a tremendous partner in the fight against catalytic converter theft. They are losing out on untold profits due to illegitimate and black-market recyclers. In Colorado, the recycling industry is very much in support of CATPA’s efforts in curbing the theft of these converters to help return business practices to normal. 

What if they take the stolen converter to Mexico?

These labels are an international product used in North America and Europe. If a law enforcement officer in Colorado, Minnesota, Texas, or anywhere in the world finds one of these labels, they can research the article and determine if the converter is stolen.

How does this prevent the theft?

First, this product is a deterrent. The goal is to have the markings dissuade the theft. Still, if a thief takes the converter anyway, this label is the only way law enforcement can identify a catalytic converter as stolen and be able to charge the thief. This is a tool for law enforcement to track stolen articles and be able to identify stolen articles quickly.

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