The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station announced plans Thursday to hold a free “Catalytic Converter Etching” event for all local residents next week.
Officials said that, by having residents come to the event to have their license plate number scratched into the surface of their catalytic converter, it makes it easier for law enforcement to return the expensive car part should it ever be stolen.
Deputy Natalie Arriaga, a spokeswoman for the SCV Sheriff’s Station, said the free event was organized in response to reports that thefts of catalytic converters had increased 400% across Los Angeles County for 2020.
As recently as last week, a multilateral law enforcement team led by the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station Crime Impact Team issued warrants at four different locations in the city of Los Angeles.
The end result of the operation was 19 arrests and 250 catalytic converters — or $100,000 worth of reportedly stolen car parts — being recovered that investigators believe are connected to a number of recent SCV thefts, according to officials.
On Jan. 6, law enforcement officials said there’d already been 14 catalytic converters stolen since the start of the year.
In February, deputies booked eight different people in relation to two different instances connected to catalytic converter thefts in a 24-hour period.
Officials have said that a converter for a victim can cost well over $1,000, but they are sold sometimes for half that price to illegal chop shops. They can be removed from the bottom of vehicles with burglary tools and quickly sold on the black market.
In addition to providing the free etching service to residents, the SCV Sheriff’s Station has partnered with the city of Santa Clarita and launched “Guard That Auto” campaign to combat the increase in grand theft auto and catalytic converter thefts. The campaign is designed, according to its organizers, to educate the community about a handful of recommended ways to help prevent someone from becoming a victim of theft:
- Park in well-lit areas with surveillance cameras.
- Weld the bolts on your catalytic converter shut.
- Engrave or etch the license plate number onto your catalytic converter.
- Always report suspicious activity — If you see something, say something.
The etching event is taking place March 25 at Reeves Complete Auto Center in Canyon Country, 26821 Ruether Ave. Officials have said services will be provided on an appointment-only basis. Time slots are on a first-come, first-served basis, and can be requested by emailing Deputy Borbon at [email protected].