Apr. 20, 2019

The Metropolitan Community College Police Department and automotive technology program are teaming up to deter would-be thieves of catalytic converters on vehicles. At the “Etch and Catch” event — 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, April 26, at MCC-Longview in Lee’s Summit — car owners can get their catalytic converters engraved with the vehicle identification number (VIN) for free.

Converter theft is a growing problem. Thieves like to target parking lots full of cars, and after they steal converters they typically try to sell them as scrap metal. Catalytic converters can be removed from cars in just a minute, but they’re expensive for vehicle owners to replace.

“Our hope is that thieves will not be interested in an etched converter,” MCC Police Chief Londell Jamerson says. “Having the vehicles’ VIN on the converter highlighted with bright paint presents a good deterrent for theft. Also, someone who buys a converter with these markings should know they’re receiving stolen property.”

Jamerson says the Etch and Catch program is another way MCC Police works with the campus communities. “We value our partnership with the High Technology Automotive Program as we work together to prevent and minimize these types of crimes,” he says.

To take advantage of the free Etch and Catch service on April 26, vehicle owners need to pre-register by emailing Etchandcatch@mcckc.edu. Please include the vehicle make, model, license plate number, VIN and a contact phone number, along with a window of time when you’d like to stop by.

In addition to the engraving on a hidden part of the converter, a sticker stating the converter has been etched will be affixed to the vehicle’s window.

Even if your converter is stolen, the engraving will help police investigate the crime and potentially catch the criminals.

MCC Police are hoping to engrave more than 100 vehicles on April 26.