Catalytic converter thefts have skyrocketed. The surge we’ve seen in recent years started at the beginning of the pandemic, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB).
The problem got so bad by February 2021 that 18 states, including Virginia, were considering legislation to address the problem, NICB reported.
As of July 1, 2022, in Virginia, it’s a Class 6 felony to break, tamper with, or remove any part of a vehicle to remove a catalytic converter without the owner’s consent. And that law imposed requirements on scrap dealers who accept catalytic converters, which is where they tend to go after they’re stolen.
Now, Metro Richmond announced another step aiming to combat the problem—Operation Catalytic Converter Crackdown.
The initiative allows car owners to get their catalytic converter marked with high-temperature paint for free at a Midas shop in Richmond, Henrico County, Chesterfield, and Colonial Heights. The offer is also open to the University of Richmond and VCU communities.
“By marking your catalytic converter, you can create a visible deterrent to alert thieves to move on. This paint also signals law enforcement the converter may be stolen. By clearly marking your catalytic converter, you will be deterring theft from happening in the first place,” a statement Henrico Police explains.
The color of the paint that’s used on a catalytic converter will coincide with where the vehicle is registered.
The idea is to help determine where any stolen parts came from. The colors are as follows:
- Chesterfield County – Green
- Colonial Heights/Tri-cities area – Blue
- Henrico County – Red
- Hanover County – Yellow
- Richmond – Pink
- University of Richmond campus community – Orange
- Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) campus community – Black
The paint is only visible from underneath the vehicle and doesn’t impact operation, according to Henrico Police.
The dates of the marking events are November 13, December 11, and January 8, 2023. The hours are from 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
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