Auto repair shop, Kyle Police Department team up for catalytic converter etching event

The Kyle Police Department and Dave's Kyle Auto Repair teamed up for a free catalytic converter etching event. This is in response to the rising number of catalytic converter thefts.

About 55 cars were brought in.

Mechanics etch people's license plate numbers on their catalytic converters. That way if it gets stolen, it'll be easier to track.

Bernie Koepsel brought his car in for the event. 

"With the rise in converter thefts, and it's quite expensive to get it replaced, anything that I can do to help slow down these people from stealing converters, it's just a no-brainer," he said.

He says his catalytic converter was stolen in November, and it took about a thousand dollars to replace.

"It was hit where I work in downtown Buda, and it took them less than a minute by the time they pulled up next to the vehicle, by the time they had the converter off and were gone," Koepsel said.

"Catalytic converter thefts are on the rise not only locally in Kyle, central Texas, but across the state and nation," Officer James Plant with the Kyle Police Department said.

Plant says they've had 13 thefts reported so far this year within city limits. Some people don't report, but officers say you should.

"That way the officers know stuff's happening in this area, and we can keep more patrols in that area," Plant said.

He says thieves usually target parking lots of places where a lot of people go.

David Duarte, owner of Dave's Kyle Auto Repair, says if your catalytic converter is stolen, you'll be able to tell by the sound.

"As soon as you go to start it, it'll be so loud you won't even be able to drive it at that point," he said.

If a stolen catalytic converter is easier to track, the odds of getting your property back and prosecuting the thief will be higher.

"If it does get stolen at that point, and it does get to a recycling center, they actually usually have DPS on site which means they'll check the background of the catalytic converter and see exactly where it originated from," Duarte said.

"The reason they want the catalytic converters is because there are precious metals inside them, and that's what they're recycling it for, they're cutting it up, taking that, that's what they're making their money off of," Plant said.

Duarte says it's not likely a thief will try to get rid of the etching.

"The chances of them going through each one individually is super slim," he said.

If you missed the event but want to have etching done, Dave's Kyle Auto Repair says they will take appointments free of charge. 

In the meantime, if you see something suspicious, report it to law enforcement.

"I just wish we could do more to stop the thefts from happening. I think law enforcement maybe needs to do a little bit more about monitoring where these items are being sold," Koepsel said.