NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Catalytic converter thefts continue to be a major issue in Connecticut, leading one city to take action and provide residents with something designed to make thieves think twice before cutting into an automobile.
Thieves stole catalytic converters out of cars in both Bristol and East Haven this week. In East Haven, the crooks hit two vehicles in the parking area at Woodview Senior Apartments.
In Shelton, police are trying to prevent just that. Police have given out 150 catalytic converter labeling kits through the city’s senior center.
“Being that most seniors are on a fixed income, we decided to start with them, at the first point in this project, due to our resources that we had,” explained Lt. Rob Kozlowsky of the Shelton Police Department.
They used money from the crime prevention budget to buy a sticker system called CATGUARD/CATEtch from Vehicle Road Safety Solutions. You apply the sticker to your catalytic converter. The stickers each have a unique number. You scan the kit’s QR code and register your number.
“When you register that unique number, it actually goes into a law enforcement database that both we can access and scrap dealers can access,” Kozlowsky said.
You put a special etching fluid on the sticker, run the car to heat it, and that number is permanently etched onto the metal. A sticker in your car window warns thieves about the etching. It might not totally prevent thefts, but it can help police track them.
“It helps us to later identify these and prove that they were stolen and may have a thief think twice about cutting that vehicle when they see the etching,” said Kozlowsky.
Shelton police are working with auto repair shops to help install those stickers, so seniors don’t have to do it themselves.
Anyone can buy these kits. Just be sure you know how many stickers you need. Some vehicles have up to four catalytic converters.