Takoma Park Police Team Up With Mechanics To Stop Catalytic Converter Theft



Mechanics at an auto shop in Takoma Park, Md., Spent Friday afternoon engraving serial numbers on catalytic converters and painting them.

Mechanics at an auto shop in Takoma Park, Md., Spent Friday afternoon engraving serial numbers on catalytic converters and painting them.

RS Automotive owner Depeshwar Doley said police asked him to offer the service in order to better track the commonly stolen car part. Doley does it for free and her customers are asking for it.

“We have received calls one after another, over and over,” he said.

Catalytic converters are part of the vehicle’s exhaust system and help reduce vehicle pollution. Inside the coins are precious metals, including platinum, palladium or rhodium. It only takes a few minutes for experienced thieves to cut them off from cars.

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, thefts have skyrocketed across the country since the start of the pandemic. The agency tracked 652 thefts of catalytic converters in January 2020, and by December the number had risen to nearly 2,500.

Police in Takoma Park said they were also seeing the peak.

“They get like $ 400, $ 500, $ 600,” Doley said. “We noticed last year all of a sudden the rise [in thefts]. These guys are having a feast.

In addition to engraving serial numbers and painting catalytic converters, Doley’s team also displays a bright yellow sticker on cars warning thieves that car parts are marked.

Julie Wiatt is one of Doley’s long-time clients. She said some of her neighbors have been beaten by thieves.

She wanted to get the service on Friday afternoon, but all the time slots were taken. She will have to wait a few weeks.

“I don’t even know where he is in the car and what he’s doing,” Wiatt said. “But, that sounds like a great idea.”

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