Nationwide Catalytic Converter VIN Etching Events Planned to Thwart Theft


Since the start of the pandemic, data trends analyzed by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) have indicated a drastic increase in vehicle crime across the U.S. Vehicle thefts, carjackings and catalytic converter thefts are all nearing record highs.

To help reduce current catalytic converter theft trends and protect consumers, NICB is partnering with businesses across the U.S. to hold VIN etching events.

“From supply chain disruptions to the exploding market value of precious metals, catalytic converters have become a prime target for thieves across the country,” said David J. Glawe, president and CEO of the NICB. “By attending a local VIN etching event, drivers can add another layer of protection for their vehicles and proactively help deter these crimes from occurring in the first place. ”

NICB, along with partners at Midas in Richmond, VA, and Shaheen Chevrolet in Lansing, MI, recently held VIN etching events in their respective communities.

“I had zero anticipation of a response like this,” said Mark Smith, owner of Midas of Richmond. “The events are blowing up at our stores, and I mean that in the best of ways. We’re getting multiple, multiple calls a day.”

Hours after Smith and local law enforcement held a press conference to announce the new initiative, which involves spray-painting catalytic converters to deter would-be thieves, the appointment-only time slots scheduled by Midas were booked.

“The more we can make our customers aware of the problem and offer them a solution, the better we can fight this crime,” said Ralph Shaheen, president of Shaheen Automotive Group. “Etching the converter is a start to prevention. It’s inexpensive, only takes a few minutes and is a great service to our customers.”

Catalytic converter thefts increased 1,215% between 2019 and 2022. The converters contain high value precious metals, specifically rhodium, palladium and platinum. The values of these metals have skyrocketed and currently, according to, are approximately:

  • Rhodium: $12,300
  • Palladium: $1,784
  • Platinum: $940

Though the value of the metals contained in catalytic converters is high, thieves will often receive $50 to $250 per catalytic converter they turn in to recycling facilities.

If you are interested in a local Catalytic Converter Etching event, visit If no events are currently scheduled in your area, contact a muffler shop that can etch your vehicle’s VIN on the converter, and spray it with a highly visible high-heat paint. Doing so enables the NICB and law enforcement to track the converters.

Should your catalytic converter be stolen, call law enforcement and your insurer immediately.

Source: NICB

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