Weld County Sheriff’s Office warning about catalytic converter thefts

Published on May 04, 2021


The Weld County Sheriff’s Office is warning the public about several recent reports of catalytic converter theft.

Since Jan. 1, deputies have responded to three reports of catalytic converter theft at various locations throughout the county. A total of 15 catalytic converters were stolen from vehicles in those three incidents. Deputies also are investigating an attempted catalytic converter theft case.

Thefts of catalytic converters have been on the rise nationwide for about the last year due to the high amount of precious metals contained in the devices, which are trading at record prices, according to a March 16 news release issued by the Catalytic Converter Theft Committee of the International Association of Auto Theft Investigators in cooperation with the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries. Many lower emission and hybrid vehicles feature catalytic converters, which is an Environmental Protection Agency exhaust emission control device.

Most catalytic converters don’t have serial numbers, making it difficult to prove one has been stolen. To deter this specific type of theft, the Weld County Sheriff’s Office is encouraging residents to uniquely identify their catalytic converters as recommended by the International Association of Auto Theft Investigators and the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries.

One option is to engrave a unique number, such as your vehicle’s VIN number, partial VIN or license plate, directly into the catalytic converter. Engravers can be purchased at most local hardware stores for about $20. Caution must be used to not damage the catalytic converter while etching.

The International Association of Auto Theft Investigators and the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries also recommend residents purchase a brightly-colored, high-temperature automotive exhaust spray paint ­– rated between 1,300 and 2,000 degrees – and apply a generous amount to your catalytic converter to make it stand out and deter thieves. The paint will also signal to law enforcement and metal recyclers that the catalytic converter in someone’s possession is likely stolen.

Additional ways to protect yourself from catalytic converter theft include:

  • Parking in a garage or secured parking area.
  • Installing a bright motion sensor light to discourage potential thieves.
  • Installing an anti-theft device.
  • Always locking vehicle and setting the alarm.
  • Fleet vehicles and minimally used vehicles should be parked in a secured, alarmed and well-lit yard.

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.