BRISTOL – Local police are teaming up with a Bristol car repair shop to help deter criminals after a rise in catalytic converter thefts became a problem in recent years.
This Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., residents can have their Vehicle Identification Number – usually abbreviated to VIN – etched into their catalytic converter for free at Midas in Bristol, located at 33 Farmington Ave.
Bristol Police Lt. Robert Osborne said etching a VIN into a catalytic converter – which contains precious metals that are often scrapped after being stolen – serves as a deterrent to thieves looking to make money money fast. According to the lieutenant, it also makes it easier for law enforcement to track down converters that have been stolen, leading to more convictions.
Osborne said the event was held after Midas contacted police and said she had recently purchased a burner. It should only take about 10 minutes for the VIN to be etched into the catalytic converter, the lieutenant added.
Catalytic converter thefts have been on the rise everywhere, not just in Bristol, for at least the past year, Osborne said. Having spent years and years on the force, he said it was the first time authorities had seen this type of problem so serious.
“It’s all over,” he said.
The lieutenant added that the thefts are very difficult to prevent, as they have been reported in residential driveways, apartment complex parking lots, commercial after-hours parking lots and even cars parked on the road.
To help reduce these types of thefts, a new law in Connecticut prevents scrap yards from taking a catalytic converter that is not attached to a vehicle unless a number of criteria are met.
According to a statement released by the governor’s office in May, in order for a scrap yard to take a converter that is not attached to a vehicle, it must keep a record of the transaction, including a description of the seller, his name, address and driver’s license number, the license plate number of the vehicle that was used to transport the catalytic converter and a photo or video of the seller and their driver’s license.
Justin Muszynski can be reached at 860-973-1809 or [email protected]