www.amny.com, Gabriele Holtermann, May 13, 2023
After the first catalytic converter theft prevention event last October had proven to be a great success, members of the NYPD Auto Crime Unit held a second free event in Orchard Beach in the Bronx on May 12.
Cars started lining up three hours before the 10 a.m. event outside the parking lot because drivers wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to protect the precious and expensive vehicle component containing platinum, palladium, and rhodium.
It’s easy money for the outlaws. One stolen catalytic converter equals a lucrative payday for crooks — sometimes $300 or more, depending on the vehicle from which the converter was taken. Most of the time, the part is easily accessible, and it takes about two minutes for seasoned thieves to remove the valuable part with the help of a car jack, a small reciprocating saw, and a buddy on the lookout.
Applying the CATGUARD labels is as quick and could save car owners a few thousand dollars. Officers with the NYPD Auto Crime Unit apply labels with unique serial numbers and a QR Code onto the catalytic converters and coat them with acid, which etches the serial number into the catalytic converter once the part heats up.
The serial number and QR code are linked to the vehicle’s identification number (VIN), and the information is entered into the CATGUARD database.
“This way, if [the catalytic converter] does happen to get stolen, we can identify it to see which car belongs to,” explained Inspector Robert LaPollo, the commanding officer of the NYPD’s Auto Crime Unit. “Also, it prevents thieves from taking the catalytic converters that have the etchings on.”
LaPollo pointed out that the Bronx has seen the most catalytic converter thefts this year; however, the numbers are down by 17% compared to last year. Last year, approximately 9,000 converters were stolen. This year, the NYPD has seen a 35% drop in catalytic converter theft. Continue Article