COOK COUNTY, IL – Cook County Sheriff Thomas J. Dart unveiled a new tool today to help deter the ongoing and costly theft of catalytic converters throughout Cook County.
The tool etches a vehicle’s VIN number on the expensive auto part, which has become a favorite target of thieves, who can quickly cut them from the bottom of parked cars and profit from the sale of their highly sought metals.
This is the latest step in the Sheriff Office’s work to help motorists protect themselves from this rampant crime. Since 2021, the Sheriff’s Office has offered free spray painting of the auto part at community events. The florescent paint, which includes a Sheriff’s star, is intended to prevent the parts from being sold to recyclers, thus reducing the chance thieves will go through the effort of taking the item. The etched VIN number will also now allow law enforcement to trace a recovered stolen catalytic converter back to the owner, potentially increasing the chance for criminal charges.
While the crime is notoriously hard to prevent and prosecute, in May Sheriff’s Police recovered more than 600 stolen catalytic converters from a residence in unincorporated Worth Township. According to data from the National Insurance Crime Bureau, more than 64,000 catalytic converters were stolen last year, making Illinois the 4th highest state for such thefts in the country.
The Sheriff’s Office will now provide the spray painting and etching program free of charge to pre-registered motorists at community events in the coming weeks and months across the county. The first one is Thursday, October 5th, in Chicago’s 11th Ward.
The public can request to be notified about upcoming events in their area by emailing email@example.com.