The Weld County Sheriff's Office is warning residents about a recent uptick in catalytic converter thefts in the county.

According to the sheriff's office, agencies nationwide have seen a rise of catalytic converter thefts during the past year, including locally.

Since January 1, 2021, Weld County has responded to total of 15 stolen catalytic converters, taken from vehicles during three different incidents at various locations. In addition, deputies are currently investigating an attempted catalytic converter theft case.

Law enforcement explains the reason they have been seeing an increase of converter thefts is due to the high amount of precious metals found in the devices. In addition, a news release published by the Catalytic Converter Theft Committee of the International Association of Auto Theft Investigators, in cooperation with the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, noted that these parts are trading at record prices. Most catalytic converters don't feature a serial number, which makes it difficult to prove when one has been stolen.

In order to deter this specific type of theft, the Weld County Sheriff's Office recommends that residents uniquely identify their catalytic converter. One way of doing this, is to engrave a unique number, such as the vehicle's full or partial VIN or license plate number, directly on the converter. The sheriff's office said that engravers can be purchased at most local hardware stores for around $20, but also warn to use caution so that the converter isn't damaged during the etching process. Another option for deterring thieves, and suggested by the International Association of Auto Theft Investigators and the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, is to purchase a brightly-colored, high-temperature automotive exhaust spray paint and apply a generous amount to the catalytic converter. Not only will this route make the device stand out, but law enforcement and metal recyclers would be able to better tell when a converter is likely stolen.

Other suggestions for protecting yourself from catalytic converter theft include parking in a garage, installing an anti-theft device on the vehicle, and installing a bright, motion sensor light near a parking area to discourage thieves.

Anyone with information regarding this or any other crime is asked to call the Weld County Sheriff’s Office at (970) 356-4015 or Northern Colorado Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477). Tips can also be submitted through the Crime Stoppers website at www.crimeshurt.com. Those submitting tips through Crime Stoppers that lead to the arrest and filing of charges on a suspect(s) may be eligible for a cash reward.

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