Catalytic Converter Etching Program launched to combat theft surge

UNION COUNTY, NJ — The Union County Municipal Task Force, an initiative by the Union County Prosecutor’s Office in conjunction with the Union County Police Chiefs Association, in partnership with the National Insurance Crime Bureau, local municipalities, local law enforcement agencies and local businesses, is launching a comprehensive Catalytic Converter Etching Program to combat the recent rise in converter thefts throughout the county. The program, which aims to deter theft and aid in the recovery of stolen converters, will be at various locations throughout Union County on Saturday, Jan. 20, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“Catalytic converter thefts have become a serious issue in our communities, causing significant financial hardship for victims,” said Union County Prosecutor William A. Daniel. “This program is a proactive measure to combat this trend and protect our residents. By uniquely marking each converter, we make them less attractive to thieves and significantly increase the chances of their recovery.”

The program will be at the following locations:

• Autoland – 170 US 22, Springfield;

• Westfield Department of Public Works – 959 W. North Ave., Westfield;

• Rahway Department of Public Works – 999 Hart St., Rahway;

• Union Police Department Headquarters – 981 Caldwell Ave., Union;

• HomeTown Tire & Auto – 416 E. Elizabeth Ave., Linden; and

• Wave Car Wash – 178 Terrill Rd., Plainfield.

At each location, trained professionals will use a high-tech etching process to permanently mark each catalytic converter with a unique identification code and high visibility spray paint. These markings allow the catalytic converters to be easily traced back to the vehicle, as well as making it much more difficult for thieves to sell or dispose of stolen converters.

The program is free and open to all Union County residents. Appointments are required and can be made through the corresponding event flier. A hold harmless agreement will be required to be signed before the marking begins. Law enforcement officers will be on-site to answer questions and provide additional information about catalytic converter theft prevention.

“We are committed to working with our partners and the community to address this issue head-on,” said Union County Prosecutor’s Office Chief of Detectives Harvey Barnwell. “By taking these preventive measures and participating in the etching program, we can send a strong message to thieves that Union County is not an easy target.”
Local police departments encourage their residents to attend the upcoming etching events.

Rahway Police Director Nicholas Breiner encourages all residents to take part in this program. “The city of Rahway Police Department and Department of Public Works are very excited to partner with the Union County Municipal Task Force and the NICB on this important initiative. Combating catalytic converter theft has become a nationwide challenge for law enforcement. Painting and etching catalytic converters not only deters theft, but also aids in tracking the sale of stolen auto parts. We encourage our residents to take advantage of this free service.”

Union Township Police Deputy Chief Scott Breslow also shares his encouragement for participation at this upcoming event. “The thefts of catalytic converters are a nationwide problem and the residents of Union are not exempt from this current crime trend. We are happy to partner with the Task Force and the NICB, as well as other local police departments, to try to prevent our residents from becoming victims. Etching is a layer of protection, so if a catalytic convertor is stolen, it may be identified as belonging to a specific vehicle, which may result in a prosecution of the person in possession of a stolen catalytic converter.”

“As catalytic converter thefts continue to rise, the Plainfield Police Department is proud to partner with the Union County Municipal Task Force and the NICB in addressing this important issue. The Plainfield Police Department, along with our numerous partners, will continue to look for innovative ways to lower the crime rate in our city,” said Plainfield Police Director James T. Abney. “I would like to thank the owners of Wave Car Wash for providing space within their facility for this etching event.”

Mark Montenero, president of Autoland, echoed the importance of this event for the community. “We value our customers highly and, by hosting an event as important as the Union County Municipal Task Force Catalytic Converter Etching Event, it helps protect our customers even more. We, at Autoland, also proudly support our law enforcement partners and are happy to help them any way we can.”
For more information about the Catalytic Converter Etching Program, visit the Union County Prosecutor’s Office website at