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Crime Stoppers hosts free catalytic converter etching

By: Staff report
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To help combat the growing numbers of catalytic converter thefts, Placer County law enforcement agencies, as well as Crime Stoppers, are offering free etching of catalytic converters. As a way to identify the parts, the California vehicle license plate number will be etched onto the heat shield of the catalytic converter. The identifiable etching will help law enforcement officers identify the victim of the theft and return the property to the owner. This free service will be offered at Les Schwab Tire Center at 5610 Pacific Street in Rocklin between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. on Saturday (by appointment only, pre-registration required). Vehicles eligible for this service include Toyota Tacomas, 4-Runners, Izusus and SUVs and need sufficient clearance for someone to be able to slide under the vehicle for engraving. Trucks and SUVs are prime targets for thieves looking to steal catalytic converters. The catalytic converter is part of the exhaust system located underneath the vehicle and is designed to reduce the toxicity of emissions from an internal combustion engine. Thieves steal the catalytic converters because they contain small amounts of precious metals including platinum, which is worth as much as $1,290 an ounce; palladium, which is worth as much as $370 an ounce; and rhodium, which can traded for as much as $6,000 an ounce on the market. Vehicles such as the 1990s models of Toyota trucks and SUVs have been specifically targeted due to their higher stock ground clearance levels. Owners often only realize their catalytic converter has been stolen when they hear an abnormally loud exhaust noise upon starting their vehicle. Thieves are able to steal the converters in as little as 90 seconds and the cost to the owner for replacement of these devices can range between $300 and $1,200. Catalytic converters do not have serial numbers or identifiable markings, making it very difficult for law enforcement officers to return the property to the owner when suspects are arrested with these stolen vehicle parts in their possession. To make an appointment, call Lynn Harrison at the Placer County Sheriff?s department, 774-5057. If you have any other questions regarding this free service, call Pam Harlan at the Roseville Police Department, 774-5057.