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IMPD event hopes to deter thieves from stealing catalytic converters

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Posted at 11:39 PM, Aug 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-17 23:39:22-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Hundreds of drivers lined up at Take 5 Oil Change Wednesday to take a step in protecting their catalytic converter from theft.

The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department says hundreds of catalytic converters have been stolen so far this year. The converters, which are underneath vehicles, have rare metals inside that thieves can take to scrap yards for cash.

"We've noticed that a lot of times these [thefts] happen in unguarded parking lots, fleet vehicles, apartment complexes and large parking lots," IMPD Captain Steven Ferklic said.

The Paint and Protect Program event allowed drivers to get their catalytic converter spray painted orange and have their license plate number written on it.

"We are thinking that once they see the converter is marked that it will make it difficult for them to move it through one of the scrap yards. We are asking the scrap yards to pay attention to that or deny buying that," Ferklic said. "The reason why they scrap them is because they can get money for them. If they can't get money for them then they'll stop doing it."

When the converter is stolen, the car stops functioning.

"It will throw a check engine light and actually a lot of the functions of the vehicle will be reduced or eliminated," Take 5 Oil Change District Manager Starling Cooper said.

Cooper says thieves target the converters because of the easy access and the worth of the metals inside.

Eric Lucy and others who work with the nonprofit Helping Veterans and Families, or HVAF, attended the event.

"Me and couple coworkers, a few months back, we all had our catalytic converters stolen off of our vans in our parking lot downtown," Lucy said. "Hopefully this will prevent this from stealing them again. It's about $1,000 a pop."

IMPD says they're working on scheduling similar events in the future.