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New program introduced to help curb catalytic converter theft in Leduc

File: What a vehicle looks like when the catalytic converter has been stolen. Global News file

The City of Leduc is on track to have one of its worst years for catalytic converter thefts.

So far this year, there have been 150 reports of converter thefts, most targeting trucks. It’s a huge jump compared to last year’s number, 106, while there was only 29 in 2019.

In an effort to stop thieves, the local RCMP has paired up with the city to introduce the “You Etch It. We Catch It” program.

This new strategy proposes vehicle owners get the last eight digits of the vehicle identification number etched onto the converter free of charge at local engraving businesses participating in the program.

Read more: Catalytic converter thefts on the rise in Edmonton, police warn

By etching the VIN onto the part, RCMP said they would easily identify the owner of the part.

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“Officers of Leduc RCMP Detachment have, on many occasions, found suspects with catalytic converters in their possession; however, we have been unable to prove they were stolen, or return them to their rightful owners due to a lack of identifying information connecting them to the rightful owner,” the news release stated.

Metal scrap yards have also been informed of the new program, and now know to report parts with an etched VIN to the police.

“We hope that this program continues to grow from here and that more businesses continue to sign-up,” Inspector Jeff McBeth, the officer in charge of Leduc RCMP said.

“We want to keep these catalytic converters on the vehicles in our community and out of the criminal’s hands.”

Read more: Edmonton Food Bank delivery truck again targeted by catalytic converter thieves

 

Current businesses signed up for the program include Fountain Tire, Kal Tire, DK Ford, Leduc Chrysler, Jeep Dodge, Leduc Hyundai, L.A. Nissan, Schwab Chevrolet Buick GMC and Canadian Tire.

Other businesses who wish to participate in the program can contact Leduc RCMP.

Edmonton Food Bank hit again with theft

The Edmonton Food Bank knows all too well what it’s like to have the part stolen.

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For a fourth time in just over a year, the food bank had two of its delivery trucks damaged by thieves who stole catalytic converters according to a tweet posted Tuesday afternoon.

RCMP said if anyone sees suspicious activity or hears sawing or grinding noises near vehicles at night to call 911 immediately.

Police are urging owners to park in well-lit areas, close to building entrances, or an area that has video surveillance, and to set the vehicle’s alarm to go off when it detects vibration.

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