The Fairfax County Police Department is partnering with Craftsman Auto Care to offer free etchings of an anti-theft label into vehicle owner's catalytic converters.
Craftsman Auto Care will host the catalytic converter theft-prevention events at its McLean and Merrifield locations on four separate dates in July and August.
*NEW Fairfax Location Date Added for August 21st.
Catalytic converters are being stolen at an increasingly high rate in Fairfax County and across the country due to the high-value metals within the converters attracting thieves to this easy-to-remove but hard-to-trace item. Earlier this year, the Fairfax County Police Department created a Catalytic Converter Task Force to investigate the theft of the converters.
From January to April this year, 333 catalytic converters were stolen in Fairfax County, compared with just 27 similar thefts over the same period in 2021. Thieves are targeting Toyota Priuses in particular because of their electric batteries. Since a Prius periodically runs off its battery instead of its gas-fueled engine, a Prius catalytic converter will retain more of its precious metals.
At the four events in July and August, the Craftsman Auto Care centers in McLean and Merrifield will etch a CATETCH anti-theft label into the catalytic converter. The CATETCH is a label that identifies a catalytic converter with a permanent mark. A label and an ID number are burned into the metal surface of the converter.
Once the label and ID number are registered, the information is accessible through a public portal and the National Law Enforcement Telecom law enforcement-exclusive data hub. Police can use this data to connect a detached part, such as a stolen catalytic converter, to a car’s VIN and the crime scene.
The goal is that once a thief notices that a catalytic converter is marked, they won’t steal it. If a thief does steal it, this identification label is traceable to the VIN of the vehicle, which helps police trace the converter if stolen.
Here’s the schedule for the four free anti-catalytic converter theft events in the McLean area:
- July 10, from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., McLean Craftsman Auto Care.
- July 31, from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Merrifield Craftsman Auto Care.
- Aug 21, from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., at McLean Craftsman Auto Care.
- Aug 28, from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., at Merrifield Craftsman Auto Care.
The McLean Craftsman Auto Care is located at 1387 Chain Bridge Road, McLean, VA, 22101. The Merrifield Craftsman Auto Care is at 2733 Merrilee Drive, Fairfax, VA, 22031.
The free events are open only to Gen 2 Prius owners who live within the McLean Police District and will be verified on date of service. The first Gen 2 Prius models were introduced in 2004.
Visit the registration site to sign up for the two events at the Merrifield location of Craftsman Auto Care. And visit the registration site to sign up for the two events at the McLean location of Craftsman Auto Care.