Police want to engrave your catalytic converters

Posted: May 18, 2011 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

Alexander Wolf looks under his 1987 Toyota 4-Runner outside his downtown Santa Fe home on Jan. 7. Wolf, like many others across the country, had his catalytic converter stolen for the precious metals in it. (File photo by Luis Sanchez Saturno/The New Mexican)

Catalytic converter thefts in the Santa Fe area have taken a nose dive since about 120 were stolen in the city limits between late November and early March. But that doesn’t mean thieves aren’t still targeting Toyota trucks and SUVs for the car parts that contain precious metals.

So this weekend, the Santa Fe Police Department is hosting an engraving event at the Santa Fe Place Mall, 4250 Cerrillos Road, on Saturday in the parking lot adjacent to the Harley Davidson Store.

The hope is engraving a license plate or VIN number on the converter will discourage would be thieves from trying to steal the device and sell it to a local scrap yard. Owners of local scrap yards have been asked to report any converter sales that have an etching or a scratched off area where the etched in numbers would be.

The event will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and the engraving is free.

I’m going channel my inner TV news anchor on this one… We were FIRST to report the converter theft trend growing in Santa Fe when there were seven stolen between Nov. 30 and Dec. 8. That story published on Dec. 9.

The police department in early January released a community bulletin about the growing trend of thefts, asking the community for help when the number was around 100 thefts.

Many catalytic converters, used to reduce the toxicity of emissions from internal combustion engines, contain three precious metals — platinum, palladium and rhodium. With the prices of those metals high right now, scrap yards are paying good money for the parts.

The issue has not, however, seemed to hit Albuquerque but has plagued Española and Los Alamos. Sgt. Peter Neal of the SFPD’s property crimes division has been tackling the issue head on and has said the belief is several burglars, often working in groups, are cutting off the converters and possibly taking them to scrap yards as far south as El Paso or even Mexico to sell.

Here are some recent links:

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