Operation: Etch & Catch to Launch October 8

The Takoma Park Police Department will officially launch Operation: Etch & Catch, a catalytic converter anti-theft program, on Friday, October 8, according to an emailed community advisory.

Public Information Officer Cathy Plevy appeared on Takoma Radio earlier this month to announce the new program, which involves etching license plate numbers in catalytic converters, in an effort to get the expensive units back to their owners in the event that they are stolen.

“In an effort to deter would-be thieves and to track stolen catalytic converters, the Takoma Park Police Department has teamed up with RS Automotive on Carroll Avenue and Lowe’s,” reads the community advisory. “People who want their catalytic converters etched and painted can visit RS Automotive, 7224 Carroll Avenue, Takoma Park, Maryland, to have their license plate number etched onto their catalytic converter, free of charge.  An appointment is needed after the launch date – 301-270-4418.
“Our goal is to deter potential thieves looking to steal catalytic converters. If your catalytic converter is stolen and recovered, law enforcement will be able to trace the converter based on the markings.
“When you call to make an appointment, make sure to mention the “Etch and Catch” program. Also note that the business has the right to refuse service.
“We would like to thank RS Automotive for partnering with us on this crime prevention tool.  Without their help, this program would not be possible. As a community, we need to work together to prevent crime, and this shop has gone above and beyond in its efforts.  We hope that other automotive businesses in the vicinity of Takoma Park join us.  We would also like to thank Lowe’s for donating the tools to assist us in this program.
“The top vehicle in Takoma Park targeted for its catalytic converter thefts has been the Toyota Prius.
“Many people have asked what they can do to help protect their vehicles. Here are some tips to help prevent catalytic converter theft: 

  • Make an appointment to have your license plate number etched on your catalytic converter at RS Automotive as part of the “Etch and Catch” program.
  • Park in a secured garage when possible or in a well-lit area with surveillance cameras and/or where the vehicle will be seen by a passerby.
  • Install motion-sensitive lighting to illuminate driveways used for parking.
  • Consider adding security cameras to oversee driveway and on-street parking areas.
  • Research catalytic converter anti-theft devices and weigh the pros and cons of having one installed.

“We are asking for our community’s help to prevent catalytic converter theft and to assist with apprehending suspects. If you hear strange noises during the night, such as power tools or sawing, if you see a vehicle stopped in the middle of the road alongside a parked vehicle, if you see or hear ANYTHING out of the ordinary, please call (301) 270-1100.”

Graphic courtesy Takoma Park Police Department

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