BRIGHTON, N.Y. (WROC) — A local scrap metal recycling company is offering a new way to have your car’s catalytic converter registered to prevent thieves from selling to certain scrap yards.  

Metalico joined the Brighton Police Department to hand out free catalytic converter identification kits in hopes of putting an end to high-valued catalytic converter theft.

The technology ensures drivers their catalytic converter belongs to them in the case that it gets stolen and offers scrap recycling companies an opportunity to mark individual converters.

There was a huge demand for these kits when the hand-out event began Sunday. Brighton Police Chief David Catholdi said this shows catalytic converter thefts are on the rise in the area.  

“The goal today was to simply see if there’s a need or want in the community for these kits,” Chief Catholdi said. “I was here at 9 a.m. and within the first hour the kits were all gone.” 

The kits were purchased by Metalico and shipped via a contractor in Europe. Inside was a non-destructible tag, and etching fluid material that can engrave a serial number onto the converter.

These numbers act like unique pins, showing who they belong to and the car they came from.  

“This is an acid solution which is why it’s important to be protected,” Kate Ilecki with Metalico said. “This will be put on this, and you wipe it like a paintbrush. This will burn this number into the metal on this catalytic converter and that’s your personal identification.”  

Drivers can go online to have their serial numbers entered into Metalico’s system. Who then shares it with every scrap metal recycling company affiliated with the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, who can notify the police if your converter shows up at their shop.

“What that does is help law enforcement if this were still taken to scrap yards accepting these,” Ilecki said. “We can now find in the systems who this belongs to, who brought it in, and start making arrests.”  

Driving without a catalytic converter can do a lot of damage to your engine over time as one of its main purposes is to turn harmful exhaust emissions into harmless gasses. It is also illegal to drive without one in the state of New York.  

According to Metalico, these kits are not currently sold in the U.S., but they do have an interest in purchasing more soon and holding similar events to distribute more in the future.