Bristol auto shop, partnering with police, offers free VIN etching to help deter catalytic converter thefts

Mechanics and professionals at the Midas repair service shop in Bristol listen to sad stories all the time from victims of catalytic converter thieves.

Men and women returning to their motor vehicles at the neighboring grocery store plaza have realized they have been strike in broad daylight right after listening to the roar of their fractured exhaust units, Midas service manager Dave Martel stated Friday. Intruders have stung some car homeowners 2 times, Martel said.

To help motor vehicle entrepreneurs through an ongoing surge in converter thefts, Midas in Bristol is supplying no cost etching of the exhaust procedure factors with car identification numbers. The session is set for Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the shop, 33 Farmington Ave.


Intruders may possibly be deterred if they see a traceable VIN quantity on a converter, Bristol law enforcement Lt. Robert Osborne said, so law enforcement are serving to spread the word about the assistance.

“They arrived at out to us and I assumed it was an alternative that the local community must be informed of,” Osborne stated. “Anything that can possibly prevent is a thing beneficial.”

Cashing in on important metals in the air pollution scrubbing equipment, “cat” intruders have been leading to untold cost and misplaced time to car or truck proprietors during Connecticut and the country. Typically, victims pay at least a $500 insurance coverage deductible for alternative, but those people with older, superior mileage cars and vehicles who deficiency the important coverage from time to time ought to choose among junking the automobile and repairs that can very easily increase earlier mentioned $1,000.

Midas retail store supervisor Anthony Paparello reported a the latest theft at Kids’ Wheels in Bristol assisted prompt the absolutely free etching session. Converter robbers strike 5 cars owned by the small business, which transports particular education and learning college students and other little ones, Paparello claimed. A agent of Kids’ Wheels could not be attained.

Paparello stated he also uncovered about comparable free of charge VIN etching in Arizona and California. In April, Los Angeles law enforcement etched VIN numbrers onto hundreds of autos, in accordance to a report in the Los Angeles Situations – Motorists have VINs etched on catalytic converters in theft reaction – Los Angeles Times (latimes.com). The grant-funded provider was intended to enable monitor the areas if they had been stolen.

The converters include precious metals this kind of as palladium, platinum and rhodium and can be severed in below 5 minutes. Some motor vehicles, such as hybrid Toyota Priuses, are specific more normally since they emit less toxins, so the converters are cleaner and far more precious.

Converter thefts jumped 325% in 2020 and the ongoing spike has adopted the rise in treasured metallic rates, in accordance to the Nationwide Insurance policy Crime Bureau. On Friday, platinum was valued at $895 an ounce, palladium at $2,088 and rhodium at $12,850, in accordance to kitco.com. Recyclers spend up to $250 for each converter, NICB experiences.

Together with the free of charge etching, which will choose 15-20 minutes for each car or truck, Midas staff in Bristol will discuss to folks about converter thefts and how to prevent currently being victimized, Martel said.

“We see how it impacts customers’ life,” he explained.

The burglars never care about staying mindful, so they often sever or hurt other areas, which can incorporate to fix charges and ready time for substitution components, Martel stated. Some customers have been hit two times, he stated.

Confrontations among converter robbers, car or truck house owners and law enforcement also have ended in really serious accidents, these as the Milford gentleman who essential 300 stitches last thirty day period after a thief slashed his experience with a ability resource and the Farmington law enforcement officer who was crushed involving his cruiser and a getaway car in September.

Gov. Ned Lamont in May possibly signed a bill into legislation intended to control the illicit trade in stolen converters. The legislation prohibits recyclers and scrap yards from getting converters not connected to cars. The law also boosts recordkeeping prerequisites and involves scrap metallic sellers to post all data on converter profits to point out law enforcement weekly.

[email protected]