LIVERMORE, Calif. (KRON) — All Bay Area car owners with catalytic converters are welcome to stop by a free “Etch and Catch” event on Thursday in Livermore.
The Las Positas College automotive department has teamed with police to make the devices easier to track if stolen.
Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill last year requiring catalytic converter recyclers to keep detailed records and only allow for used catalytic converters to be sold by authorized parties. Thieves, however, are still ripping them off cars.
The exhaust emission control devices are not serialized, so one way to make them easier to track is to have them etched.
“You’ll notice we’ve got the Livermore Police Department badge spray-painted on with heat-resistant paint, and then we also engrave the license plate number of the vehicle on the catalytic converter so it can be identified,” said Brian Hagopian, Las Positas College automotive professor and program coordinator.
The event will be held from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Thursday. Professor Hagopian’s students will perform the etching. The event will be similar to the first event held back in November where 150 drivers showed up.
Drivers can show up to the automotive department on Loop Road behind building 800. A student will drive their car onto a lift and etch their catalytic converter.
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The Livermore Police Department is co-sponsoring the event. “The intent is for other departments, if they do come across these having been stolen off of a vehicle, to be able to contact the Livermore Police Department and that way there’s some sort of ownership in tracking method to the catalytic converter itself,” said Taylor Burruss, Livermore police officer.
Governor Newsom stated studies show catalytic converter thefts has increased significantly since 2018.