9 agencies form task force to stop catalytic converter theft

As catalytic converter thefts continue to rise in the area, nine law enforcement agencies announced that they are teaming up to form a task force.

They will share case information and resources to help address the crime. 

The task force includes departments from Bellevue, King County Sheriff's Office, Redmond, Kirkland, Bothell, Medina, Clyde Hill, Mercer Island and Issaquah.

Since forming the task force in November, 11 suspected catalytic converter thieves have been arrested. 

"We have seen exponential growth in catalytic converter thefts across the region and it needs to stop," said Bellevue Police Chief Wendell Shirley at a news conference announcing the task force. "These thieves are hopping from city to city stealing these converters in a matter of minutes. We’ll have a much better chance of catching the prolific offenders by combining our investigative resources."

What's a catalytic converter? 

Bellevue police said it’s a device that converts toxic exhaust gasses from an internal combustion engine into less-toxic pollutants.  

The device contains metals in a muffler-like package that is attached to the exhaust pipe. 

It’s readily accessible underneath the car, and thieves can steal them within minutes. 

Thieves sell them for the metals, and it can cost car owners thousands to replace.

Everett offers way to protect your catalytic converter

The city of Everett wants to protect your car’s catalytic converter with a new program they hope will help identified stolen devices, and possibly deter crime altogether.

The Bellevue Police Department also plans to launch Project CATCON ID. It’s a program that offers car owners free catalytic converter etching and painting events to help deter thieves and strategies to prevent theft. 

The city of Everett started offering this program.

Get breaking news alerts in the FREE FOX 13 Seattle app. Download for Apple iOS or Android. And sign up for BREAKING NEWS emails delivered straight to your inbox.

Stay connected with FOX 13 News on all platforms:
DOWNLOAD: FOX 13 News and Weather Apps
WATCH: FOX 13 News Live
SUBSCRIBE: FOX 13 on YouTube
DAILY BRIEF: Sign Up For Our Newsletter
FOLLOW: Facebook Twitter Instagram