DIAMOND BAR (CBSLA) — With thefts of catalytic converters will on the rise, the Los Angeles County sheriff’s station in Diamond Bar offered free etching to help deter theft and help catching the thieves.

(credit: CBS)

The station had auto workers etch license plate numbers on their catalytic converters for free, a service that is on the rise due to the increasing number of catalytic converter thefts in Southern California.

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Catalytic converters reduce emissions from a vehicle’s engines. Law enforcement officials say removing the part takes just a few minutes and thieves are recycling the catalytic converters, especially those from the Toyota Prius, for quick cash.

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In just the first three months of this year, authorities have arrested 21 people and recovered hundreds of stolen catalytic converters in two separate investigations, while two men killed in a crash into a Garden Grove swimming pool as they fled from a police officer had a catalytic converter in their truck, along with the tools to steal it.

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The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station will hold a similar event in partnership with Reeves Complete Auto Center of Canyon Country. Their catalytic converter etching event will take place Thursday, March 25, and will be offered to Santa Clarita Valley residents by appointment only on a first-come, first-served basis. To book an appointment, or find out more information, contact Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station Deputy Borbon ka1borbo@lasd.org.