DUNCANVILLE, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) Thefts of catalytic converters have spiked nationwide due to the value of the metal inside, and with that in mind, the Duncanville Police Department is offering up a free opportunity aimed at combating these thefts.

“Operation Etch and Catch” is set for Saturday, September 25, from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. in the Duncanville City Hall Parking Lot 200 E. Wheatland Rd.

The department last hosted this event in March.

This identifiable etching will help law enforcement officers identify the victim of the theft and return the property to the owner.

“At this time, we are going to be etching the vehicles license plate number on the converter till we come up with a better system to etch the entire VIN,” Duncanville Police said in a news release.

Trucks and SUVs are prime targets for thieves looking to steal catalytic converters.

The catalytic converter is part of the exhaust system located underneath the vehicle and is designed to reduce the toxicity of emissions from an internal combustion engine.

Thieves steal the catalytic converters because they contain small amounts of precious metals including platinum – which is worth up to $1,290 an ounce; palladium – which is worth up to $2,300 an ounce; and rhodium – which can trade for up to $24,000 an ounce on the market, Duncanville Police explained.

Trucks and SUVs have been specifically targeted due to their higher stock ground clearance levels.

Owners often only realize their catalytic converter has been stolen when they hear an abnormally loud exhaust noise upon starting their vehicle.

Thieves are able to steal the converters in as little as 90 seconds and the cost to the owner for replacement of these devices can range between $900 and $2,000.

Catalytic converter thief (Irving PD)

Catalytic converters do not have serial numbers or identifiable markings making it very difficult for law enforcement officers to return the property to the owner when suspects are arrested with these stolen vehicle parts in their possession.

“We just wanted other police agencies to be aware of this so if they run across converters that have etched numbers or find grind marks on the converters this may be where a license plate number or VIN had been etched,” Duncanville Police said.

CBSDFW.com Staff