LIVERMORE, Calif. (KRON) – Catalytic converter thefts have become a big problem throughout the Bay Area. In Livermore on Tuesday, the police department is trying to help people protect their property.

The Livermore Police Department and Las Positas College teamed up to offer free catalytic converter etching.

Each car is pulled into the school’s automotive shop, lifted up, and then the converter is marked with a unique code and a symbol that represents the Livermore Police Department. If the converter is stolen and then later found, it can be identified. The hope is to make it harder for thieves to sell their stolen goods.

Officer Taylor Burruss tells KRON4, “If someone does steal a catalytic converter of someone who has participated in these events then we can track it. It’s an investigative tool and it’s a deterrent.” 

Demand for converter etching is high. Tuesday morning, drivers lined up early waiting for their turn.

Marylin Cheney read about it in the newspaper. She’s frustrated with criminals targeting people’s cars.

Cheney tells KRON4, “I feel like we need to get rid of these guys who are stealing the catalytic converters.”

This is the Livermore PD’s first etching event, but based on the turnout they are already considering having another one.

Officer Burris tells KRON4, “We have a long line stacked up and it looks like it’s well-received so hopefully we can do more in the future.”

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Another reason etching has become popular is that California recently passed new laws to crack down on converter thefts. That includes a law requiring metal recyclers to keep accurate records of where they get converters. If one comes in etched showing that it’s stolen, that recycler may be less inclined to buy it.