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, Oct. 4, 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 vehicle’s 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 Longview automotive program as we work to prevent and minimize this type of crime,” he says.

To take advantage of the free Etch and Catch service on Oct. 4, vehicle owners should pre-register by emailing Please include the vehicle make and 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.