OCSO: Additional catalytic converter marking kits available

(ABC 6 News) – The Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office announced they are continuing their participation in the Minnesota Commerce Fraud Bureau Catalytic Converter Theft Prevention Pilot Program.

As a result, and due to requests from the public and additional recent catalytic converter theft reports, the Sheriff’s office has received an additional 50 marking kits from the state.

The process to obtain a kit is below:

  • Kits must be picked up in person at the Government Center (101 4th St. SE in Rochester) at the 2nd floor Sheriff’s Office Civil Warrants window between 8:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.
  • Vehicle VIN and Minnesota license plate number are necessary to register the kit.
  • Register kit online HERE by following the instructions included in the kit. Register the kit BEFORE applying it.
  • Marking the catalytic converter can be done by oneself, or contact a local dealer/mechanic/body shop to schedule a time to have it marked.

The law requires the labels be installed at no cost to vehicle owners. Businesses cannot charge for the installation of the program label, but they can require another service, e.g., oil change, be performed to install a label.

The program, which was launched by the State’s Commerce Department in 2021, works by adhering a special label to catalytic converters that transfers etchings of the label’s unique number onto the metal once the vehicle is started.

The etching makes it possible for law enforcement to trace a recovered convertor back to a specific vehicle if it’s stolen.

Minnesota has one of the highest theft rates of catalytic converters in the nation.

Minnesota law enforcement agencies, automotive dealerships, and service centers are marking the converters, especially those on the most at-risk vehicles, with an easily applied label that has a number, when registered, is traceable to the VIN.

Under Minnesota law the removal of a number, even if it is owner applied, is a crime and can be used as evidence to show the criminal knows it to be stolen.

Furthermore, it is a crime for scrap metal dealers who receive, possess, transfer, buy, or conceal any stolen property or property knowing or having reason to know the property was stolen.

Thus, the program and state statute serves to communicate to scrap metal dealers that converters with fresh grind marks is an indicator they are stolen, and that they should be dissuaded from purchasing them.

For more information on the program, and to view the top vehicles targeted for catalytic converter theft, CLICK HERE.