KIRO Nights: Will engraving your catalytic converter prevent it from being stolen?

Feb 1, 2022, 12:38 PM | Updated: 2:50 pm

catalytic converter...

A mechanic works on replacing a catalytic converter on a truck. (File photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

(File photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

KIRO Nights host Jack Stine saw a headline that, as he admits, he initially thought was a joke. It read: “Drivers wait hours in line at Everett catalytic converter engraving event.”

But it was real!

“This is totally legitimate,” Jack said. “People actually are getting their catalytic converters engraved in order to prevent theft? So when the scrappers try to buy them, it has your name, and your address, and your VIN number?”

“It’s basically a way to try to allow car owners the ability to add a little bit of security to their catalytic converter in the hopes that if the person who has been buying these things illegally for years all the sudden gets a conscience and says, ‘Oh, this is Jack Stine’s. It has his name and number on it. Now I feel bad. Now I won’t accept this and give the guy $500 cash for the precious metals in this,'” explained Chris Sullivan, KIRO Newsradio traffic reporter.

Competing proposals for catalytic converter theft crackdown up for Thursday vote

Jack says he thinks it’s a good idea, at least in theory, to hopefully dissuade people from attempting to steal the catalytic converters. Because if you take this now engraved part into a scrap yard, then that person might be culpable in buying stolen goods.

“Well they already are,” Chris said. “But at least you’d be like, ‘Are you Jack Stine? Because this is Jack Stine’s catalytic converter.’ You would think that might do something.”

That said, Jack thinks there is plausible deniability for those buying a catalytic converter.

“How am I supposed to know somebody cut this out of a Prius with a Sawzall? It’s not like it’s got cut marks on either side of it,” he said. “… It’s plausible deniability.”

“True, and I don’t want to cast all scrappers as criminals, … but there are obviously places where you can go where they are looking the other way,” Chris said.

Catalytic converter thefts have gone up by 1,300% in King County over the last few years, Chris reported.

“There’s a way to stop it, but it’s got to be the people who are accepting the goods knowing full well that, ‘I’m looking the other way. I don’t want to know where it comes from,'” he said. “I think that’s where you stop it, or try to at least.”

Listen to KIRO Nights weeknights from 7 – 10 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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