Police Proactively Fight Theft of Catalytic Converters with Department’s First Engraving Event

Attendees were able to have their vehicle identification number engraved on their catalytic converter.

Police officer engraving VIN on catalytic converter

The best way to solve a problem is to lay out a plan and follow it step-by-step. Progress rarely comes in chunks, but rather a little bit at a time. 

That’s the approach that Virginia Beach Police Department (VBPD) Sgt. William Frederick is taking to mitigate the theft of catalytic converters in the city. The catalytic converter engraving event on April 6 was the first step in that process. 

“The theft of catalytic converters is definitely a concern in our community and across the country,” Frederick said. “We think we can mitigate those thefts by partnering with our community.” 

The event, which was VBPD’s first, offered free engraving of catalytic converters for Virginia Beach residents, business owners and guests from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the VBPD’s Third Precinct. Thanks to a partnership with the Virginia State Police and the Help Eliminate Auto Theft (HEAT) program, attendees were able to have their vehicle identification number (VIN) engraved on their catalytic converter and their VIN engraved into their car windows. Both engravings took approximately 15 minutes.

Seventy-two appointments were made available for the initial event. All 72 spots were reserved within a week of VBPD’s announcement of the event and, thanks to efficient work by VBPD officers, 82 community members received engraving services on their cars. 

“Our officers go above and beyond to make our community a safer place,” said VBPD Chief Paul Neudigate “We’re thankful that our community supported this event, and we’re motivated by the demand from our community to do everything we can to help protect our residents and guests.” 

Catalytic converters are targeted due to their composition of precious metals. Engraving the VIN on a catalytic converter can prevent its sale to an auto parts recycler, disincentivizing its theft. 

“This event empowers our community to directly impact their safety in a positive way,” said Chief Neudigate. “We’re committed to working hand-in-hand with our residents to make Virginia Beach an even safer place to live, work and enjoy.”

Sgt. Frederick plans on evaluating the effectiveness of the event in the coming weeks but he said he is well aware of the demand from the community to help mitigate these crimes. 

“We’re hoping to have these events quarterly in the future,” he said. “But with this being the first one, we’re excited about the impact we’ve made.”