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Oceanside Police hold catalytic converter etching event

Tania Thorne
Pictured, the underside of a Toyota Prius with its catalytic converter. San Diego County, Calif. Nov. 22, 2021.

The Oceanside Police Department invites the public to a free catalytic converter etching event on Saturday, March 12 from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. The event is hosted by Len's Auto Body located at 510 Jones Road in Oceanside.

Catalytic converters are vehicle parts that contain valuable platinum group metals like rhodium, iridium and palladium.

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Etching catalytic converters is a strategy that police departments have implemented to address the uptick in catalytic converter thefts occurring nationwide.

Detective Chris James with the Oceanside Police said it helps with prosecution when stolen catalytic converters that are recovered are etched with a serial number.

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“It creates a felony if a suspect is caught in possession of it and trying to remove the VIN," said James. "Another benefit is if a recycler goes to recycle catalytic converters, or purchase a large stockpile of converters from somebody, they can notice, 'Oh there's a bunch of license plates inscribed in these converters.' It can alert them and alert law enforcement."

James said matching a stolen catalytic converter to the vehicle it was stolen from is an important step in the pursuit of a criminal case against the thieves.


Police are urging car owners to engrave their vehicle's identification number on their converter, consider getting a cat shield installed and park inside a garage or a well lit area.

Oceanside Police personnel will be available at the event throughout the day to provide additional tips to help keep vehicles safe.

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