August 4, 2021

Authorities asking for public’s help in identifying theft suspect

(Franklin, GA) — The Franklin Police Department is asking for the public’s help in identifying the unidentified male in the photos above after a catalytic converter was stolen from a Heard County van at the Old Recreation Department in Downtown Franklin.

FPD Investigator Tino Brooks says the theft occurred at around 12:15 AM on Saturday, March 20, 2021.

The theft of catalytic convertors from parked vehicles has become a problem nationwide with thousands being stolen across the country each day.

The converters can be worth between $50-$875 on the black market.

“We are advising churches, daycare centers, and other businesses to park their vans in well-lit areas at night or even better to drive them home each night if possible,” Says Lt. Brooks.

Anyone with any information about the suspect pictured above are asked to call the Franklin Police Department at 706-675-6624. See the article below for further information and prevention tips.

Combat Catalytic Converter Theft Prevention Marking 

Catalytic Converter theft is on the rise! Thousands are stolen across the country per day.

To combat this alarming trend, the Catalytic Converter Theft committee of the  International Association of Auto Theft Investigators (IAATI) in cooperation with the  Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) suggests marking your converter.

Thieves are stealing converters from all types of vehicles and will make between US $50 and US $875 per converter depending on the type and the precious metals content.

Many lower emission/hybrid vehicles contain higher amounts of precious metals that are  currently trading at all time high prices which is the catalyst for the increase in this  crime.

Some larger vehicles have multiple catalytic converters which make them prey  for the theft. The cost to the vehicle’s owner to repair can be several thousand dollars.

A catalytic converter is an EPA exhaust emission control device that reduces toxic  gases and pollutants in exhaust gas from an internal combustion engine into less-toxic  pollutants. Converters are typically found beneath the vehicle as part of the exhaust  system.

Most catalytic converters do not have serial numbers, making it difficult for law  enforcement to prove a catalytic converter is stolen.

IAATI and ISRI believes starting a  vigorous public education and information campaign to encourage vehicle owners to uniquely identify their catalytic converters, so they can be associated with a vehicle will  have a substantial effect on deterring the theft.

We have compiled two ways for consumers to protect their valuable property by clearly  marking their catalytic converter on their vehicle.

While a consumer may do this, there  are also many shops that can provide this marking as well.

Step One 

Option One: Engraving Marking  

Engrave a number, such as the VIN or at least the last 8 of VIN or alternatively the vehicle’s license plate number with the state/province.

Engravers can be purchased at most local hardware stores for around US$20.00.

Caution must be used to not damage the catalytic converter while etching.

Option Two: Catalytic Converter Safe Label Solution 

Vehicle owners and fleets may benefit from purchasing commercially produced markers  kits that provide:

  • An ultra-destruct label (that will break into pieces if an attempt is made to remove  them) that provides an identification number onto each catalytic converter. 

  • Includes metal etching fluid that applies the same unique code into the metal. • Includes a secure free registration database. 

Even if the label is removed, the etched number information will remain clearly readable for catalytic converter ownership to quickly be verified.

Step Two:  

Make your catalytic converter standout. Purchase some high-temperature (1300-2000 0F), automotive exhaust spray paint in a bright color, and spray a generous amount onto the converter. By adding bright paint, you can create a visible deterrent to alert thieves to move on. This paint also signals law enforcement and recyclers to look deeper for serial numbers or identification marks.

By clearly marking your catalytic converter you will be deterring the theft from  happening in the first place. Other ways to protect your car from this vehicle crime are  as follows:

  • Park in a garage or secured parking area

  • Install a bright motion sensor light to discourage potential thieves. • Install an anti-theft device.

  • Always lock vehicle and set the alarm.

  • Fleet vehicles and minimally used vehicles should be parked in a secured, alarmed, well-lit yard.

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