Auto Repair Shops and AAA Colorado Join Forces to End Catalytic Converter Theft, Hope “Disrupt Black Market” – CBS Denver
DENVER (CBS4) – As Colorado theft cases involving catalytic converters continue to rise, AAA Colorado and auto repair shops are hoping to help stop the crime. The hope is to install 10,000 stickers on the catalytic converters to create a way to track the coin.
“This will hopefully disrupt this black market, it will be much more difficult to sell ill-gotten catalytic converters and hopefully this also means thieves will think twice before stealing any of them in automobiles, ”said Skyler McKinley with AAA Colorado. “It’s a very strong sticker. It is very difficult to remove. But as an additional preventive measure, we also apply a chemical etching component, so that it matches the serial number of your catalytic converter. This number is then recorded in an anti-theft database which can be queried by law enforcement agencies, spare parts yards, waste pickers, etc.
The problem is that a catalytic converter on its own cannot be traced back to cars. Denver Police recently started a program to get VINs stamped into coins. Now, the next time a car goes for standard maintenance, AAA Colorado hopes it becomes a theft deterrent. AAA Colorado has partnered with about 150 repair shops statewide to try to get more identification on more catalytic converters.
“Now we have a serial number, we can trace the catalytic converters back to their origin, which is essential. This is just the beginning. But that’s also the start of the conversation where we hope to let everyone know, ‘Hey, we can follow them now,’ ”McKinley said.
A recent study indicates that Colorado leads the country in terms of peak flights compared to last year. In 2019, Colorado recorded just a few dozen thefts of catalytic converters. In 2021, there have already been more than 2,500.
Repairs can cost car owners thousands of dollars.
“As a vehicle owner, you always have a responsibility to do your best to park in well-lit areas, to know it’s a risk there. The sticker will help you. Having protection should deter them. But also, it’s a whole new problem and it’s a whole new solution. So, it will take time. Vigilance is always the key.
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