SAN DIEGO — Catalytic converters are a hot commodity and thieves are now more than ever on the hunt. Police say someone can take one in less than five minutes
Police said it's because of what's inside a catalytic converter, precious metals such as platinum and rhodium.
On Sunday, Chula Vista police trying to deter this from happening hosted an event to engrave one's VIN number on and paint catalytic converters.
Police said this will help identify if one has been stolen or not, with the unique engraving.
Fifty participants got the service for free at the event but it is available for the public.
Wheel Depot in Chula Vista will be offering this service going forward for $75 and for some they said it's an investment worth doing.
"We don't park the car in the garage. It is on the driveway - it makes us much more vulnerable. This gives me much more peace of mind," said Kim Vanderbie.
Last year, police say Chula Vista saw 350 thefts, this year that number has jumped 700% to nearly 2,000. Detective Samson Leonard said there are ways to keep yourself safe.
"Thieves are looking for easy targets. They wouldn't be thieves if they were hard workers. We recommend you make yourself a hard target park underneath a light, buy a motion-sensing light, park underneath a camera if you can. They make after-market shields for catalytic converters," said Leonard.
A protective shield will cost you hundreds, the service to paint and engrave will cost you much less, but to replace your catalytic converter will be closer to $3,000.
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