Bellevue Police help start program to paint catalytic converters to prevent theft

The Bellevue Police Department is partnering with Honda Auto Center of Bellevue for the first Project CATCON ID catalytic converter etching and painting event that will take place on March 7.

The effort to begin painting and etching catalytic converters so they can be more easily identified as a way of deterring thieves was announced during a press conference in the beginning of March.

Law enforcement agencies across several Eastside communities have partnered in an effort to mitigate the alarming trend of increasing catalytic converter thefts over the past few years. The nine law enforcement agencies on the task force include Bellevue, King County Sheriff’s Office, Redmond, Kirkland, Bothell, Medina, Clyde Hill, Mercer Island and Issaquah.

A catalytic converter is a device that converts toxic exhaust gasses from an internal combustion engine into less-toxic pollutants. The converters contain precious metals in a muffler-like package attached to the exhaust pipe. It’s readily accessible underneath the car, and thieves can steal them within minutes. They sell them for the precious metals, and it can cost car owners thousands to replace.

Law enforcement officials are hoping that painting the expensive car parts will make it difficult for them to sold to purveyors of the stolen parts as they could be easily identified as stolen, and therefore a liability to scrap yards and other potential buyers.

Bellevue Police Chief, Wendell Shirley, said the intent is that thieves will see a painted catalytic converter and move on to one that is not painted due to the risk.

The Bellevue Police Department is reporting “extreme demand for the catalytic converter painting and etching program since the announcement of the program. According to the department, the dealership had filled all 150 appointments in less than 48 hours.

Honda is performing this service from March 7 to March 11, from 1-5 pm. It is free of charge to community members who registered.

Officers will be on hand to answer community member questions and hand out stickers that drivers can place in their car’s windshield to let thieves know the catalytic converter has been tagged.

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Source: Bellevue Reporter