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By Mike Hazlip–
In an effort to deter theft, Citrus Heights police and Pastor’s Auto Care collaborated in the city’s first catalytic converter etching event Saturday.
The event was held at Pastor’s Auto Care on Sunrise Boulevard, where vehicles could be seen waiting in line before the 10 a.m. kick off time, according to Holly Woltzen, a spoksperson for the family owned business.
Mechanic Brandon Todd said 52 vehicles had come through as of 2 p.m., with still an hour left in the event. It took Todd and his brother a few minutes to etch the license plate number on the catalytic converter.
Catalytic converters use rare metals as a catalyst to reduce emissions in a vehicle’s exhaust. The value of these metals have fueled a rise in catalytic converter thefts. SUVs and trucks with high ground clearance are targeted, as are hybrids like the Toyota Prius.
Citrus Heights Police Officer Spencer Greenlee said having the vehicle’s license plate etched on the catalytic converter is a deterrent to thieves.
Police said there were 31 thefts reported in Citrus Heights last year. The cost to replace the part can run over $2,000 on some vehicles.
Earlier this year, Citrus Heights police arrested several suspects related to catalytic converter thefts, according to posts on social media by police. The department has also issued several advisory warnings to residents this year, asking the public to stay alert in noticing suspicious activity around vehicles.
CBS 13 reported Sacramento County Sheriff uncovered a cache of about 2,000 catalytic converters in Elk Grove last July. Deputies also found $300,000 in cash at the location. No suspects were arrested in the incident.
Catalytic converters don’t have identifying marks, which makes it difficult for thieves to be prosecuted, according to Greenlee.
“This is a cool way to let people know about this issue,” the officer said of the Oct. 10 etching event. “It’s free, so they can come out and do it.”
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