A new partnership is working to help car owners on the Central Coast as catalytic converter thefts remain a problem.
The CEO of Rizzoli's Automotive said that these types of thefts ultimately come down to where the catalytic converter is placed and the age of the vehicle. Newer vehicles are a bigger target.
All it takes to steal a catalytic converter is a few seconds.
“I’m not the first and certainly not the last," said Tiffany Burdine, a San Luis Obispo resident.
A growing trend that has affected hundreds of people on the Central Coast and now many expressing their frustration.
“It’s extremely frustrating because we had to be without a car for like four months," said Erika Perez, a San Luis Obispo resident.
In Grover Beach, 40 catalytic converter thefts were reported to police last year up from five in 2020.
Grover Beach Police Department has partnered with Rizzoli's in a free etching program aimed to not only prevent catalytic converter thefts but hold thieves accountable.
“What the etching does is it allows us as law enforcement, when we stop these people, and they have several of them in their back seat we can track it down to a victim. Without a victim, we can’t prosecute so that's where the etching really helps us," said Commander for Grover Beach PD, Jim Munro.
Etching is a process where a serial number or license number is etched into the converter to be able to identify it.
“What we are doing is a free complimentary catalytic converter consultation. We’ll review your vehicle to see if your vehicle is indeed in danger of getting stolen if it is we’ll for free engrave your catalytic converter with your identification number," said the CEO of Rizzoli's Automotive, Kyle Rizzoli.
Grover Police says they hope this program will deter thieves. Those affected by this crime have a message to the people taking these expensive parts.
“Stop doing it and just put yourself in the position of the people who are living this and are getting their catalytic converter stolen," said Perez.
Rizzoli’s is taking appointments for catalytic converter consultations in all of their locations including Santa Maria, San Luis Obispo, and Grover beach.