Free auto part security event
by Denise Ellen Rizzo
Sep 24, 2013 | 4125 views | 3 3 comments | 32 32 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Thieves beware: Stolen catalytic converters are soon going to be harder to resell.

The department has joined forces with SpeeDee Oil Change to provide a free car theft security service to Tracy residents from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 6 at 711 W. Grant Line Road.

Technicians will etch vehicle license information onto a car’s catalytic converter. Sgt. Luis Mejia said Tracy Police Department hopes to discourage — or at least catch — criminals who steal the pollution-reducing parts for the metals they contain.

“We’re constantly looking for innovative ways to deter crime, and then actually (Detective) James Harries happened to locate this program while doing research,” Mejia said. “We wanted to do something that is proactive.”

Catalytic converters have been used since 1975 to reduce vehicle emissions by converting pollutants to less harmful compounds as exhaust leaves the engine.

The parts are appealing to thieves because of their precious metal content, which includes platinum and gold. They are typically sold to recycling and junk yards for $20 to $200 each.

Although the etching program is new to Tracy, it has been used in Stockton, Ripon and Sacramento, Mejia said.

Mejia said having an identification number on a catalytic converter would enable police to track down the original owner if someone tried to sell the part at a local recycling yard.

The sergeant acknowledged that catalytic converter thefts have not been frequent lately in Tracy, but he said some thefts have occurred.

SUVs and trucks are common targets, because their high clearance enables a thief to get under the vehicle, cut off the part and leave easily without notice.

Etching is free for any Tracy resident, financed by Tracy Crime Stoppers. No appointment is necessary, and the converter will remain attached to the vehicle while it is etched.

For information: 831-6628.

• Contact Denise Ellen Rizzo at 830-4225 or

Comments-icon Post a Comment
September 26, 2013
Folks this would be easy if ya would just have yer state legislatures pass a law requirin that all salvaged cats be accompanied by a VIN code. Ya want ta sell yer cat fer scrap, produce a VIN code with th old cat an salvage away. Then law enforcement durin thair investigations can check fer valid VIN codes. Havin th seller produce a vehicle registration at th time th cat is salvaged wouldn't be bad either. Fer instance, in th auto parts business yer charged a core charge on a battery purchase an given a refund when th core is turned in with th accompanin purchase receipt ya just got with a new battery purchase. Since registration is somethang yer supposed ta carry in yer vehicle, it wouldn't be difficult ta ask fer it when th customer is seekin a monetary refund fer th old cat he wants ta salvage. It would be easy ta record th VIN an compare it with CATs turned in fer salvage. More than one per year would indicate funny business that should be investigated fer criminal activity. Several simple ways ta make it harder fer th thieves without much encumbrance to our legal population.
September 24, 2013
Because the guy using an electric saw to cut your converter off does not have access to a grinder...
September 25, 2013

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