DENVER (CBS4) – Denver police are using auto repair students to try to reduce the number of catalytic converter thefts.
“I didn’t know this was a big deal until one of the instructors told me about it,” said Blake Sheldon, a student at Lincoln Tech.
Denver police hope to burn 300 cars on Saturday. It only takes a few minutes for student volunteers to carve the last eight digits of a VIN, then spray paint it in bright colors. Places are still available, but people are requested to register.
“If they see it’s bright orange, they’ll recognize that it doesn’t look right and hopefully move on and leave it alone, thus avoiding damage to the vehicle,” said Travis Viera, instructor. at Lincoln Tech.
“I think this is one of the best deterrent options we have,” Denver Police Officer Kiarra Jenkins said. “If we come in contact with a suspect who has a bunch of them, we have a VIN number, we can tie it to a car and we can try to get that person charged with the crime of theft which is huge.”
DPD says it has worked with metal recyclers to try to stop the problem. There has been a wave of theft because catalytic converters like scrap metal come at a high price. The hope is that these engraved and painted pieces will raise red flags.
“We are reaching out to all of the local break-ins and pawn shops to create this partnership and stay in direct communication. If they get one, they’ll let us know so we can charge people, ”Jenkins said.