LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KRQE) – The Las Cruces Police Department is holding two free catalytic converter VIN etching events this weekend. The first will take place from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Friday, June 9, at Take 5 Oil Change on Rinconada Boulevard; the second etching event will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 10, at Jiffy Lube on N. Main Street.

At the events, Las Cruces residents can get their VIN or their license plate number etched into their catalytic converter to discourage theft. Catalytic converter theft has become increasingly more common, and making sure they are marked with a unique number makes stolen converters much harder to sell, thus lowering rates of theft and resale.

The Las Cruces Police Department has provided the following tips to further lower the chances of catalytic converter theft:

  • Park in a garage or well-lit area
  • Install a catalytic converter shield or protection device that is approved for your vehicle’s make and model
  • Install and utilize a vehicle alarm system that detects vibration
  • Avoid leaving vehicles unattended in public places for long periods of time
  • Call the police immediately at (575) 526-0795 to report suspicious activities, such as someone lying underneath a parked vehicle

According to the police department, the metals in catalytic converters have increased in value due to their resistance to high temperatures, corrosion, and oxidation. Replacing stolen catalytic converters can be costly, ranging up to $3,000, so preventing theft is important from a financial standpoint.

The police warn that vehicles with high ground clearance are more likely to have their catalytic converters stolen. Catalytic converter theft may resulting felony charges for criminal damage to property and larceny.