Maine's requiring VIN etching onto catalytic converters

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Many scrap dealers seem to be sketchy anyway. When I worked for an electrical-supplies wholesaler, an employee for one contractor was busted at my place of work because he was buying bare copper wire on his employer's credit and then turning it in to a scrap company for the copper value. Brand new 4/0 size (big wire) on the factory reel should have told the scrap company it had been stolen, but the outfit gave him money for bare wire a few times anyway. The cops got involved and busted him after he signed the paperwork to get more only after his employer complained.

So it's no surprise these outfits buy stolen cats.
 
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Many scrap dealers seem to be sketchy anyway. When I worked for an electrical-supplies wholesaler, an employee for one contractor was busted at my place of work because he was buying bare copper wire on his employer's credit and then turning it in to a scrap company for the copper value.
Haha, that reminded me of (2) stories of scrap yards that were on the up and up. I also worked at an electrical supply house and the delivery drivers also "picked" orders. One of them had an order for a roll of bare copper (not 4/0 like your story but maybe 8 gauge ??) and he picked (2) rolls. Delivered one of them to the customer and took the other one to a scrap yard.... in the company's delivery vehicle.... wearing a work shirt with the company's name on it ! Needless to say, the yard told him "hold on...." and called us. We told them to hold on to the roll and someone would retrieve it and told them to tell our driver to come back. I actually think in this case the manager didn't fire him, but did scare him and threaten him that if he pulled anything like that again, besides getting fired, he'd file a police report over the theft.

Another time when I was a designer at a pump manufacturer, we also had a high-alloy foundry next door. An employee took a bucket of pure nickel (slugs, I think) to a nearby scrap yard. This same scrap yard worked with the foundry and machine shop for collecting scrap (various stainless, A20, and the other metals and alloys needed) and wanted to keep a good relationship so they got the guy's name and stalled him.... while they called the foundry. The police were called, someone from the foundry headed there, and he didn't get a warning like my story above.
 

ZeeOSix

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Looks like Bill is in work ... who knows if it will happen or even make a difference. States are also making their own laws trying to crack down on cat thievery. I say setup a bunch of bait cars, and wait for them to come ... arrest and prosecute.

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Looks like Bill is in work ... who knows if it will happen or even make a difference. States are also making their own laws trying to crack down on cat thievery. I say setup a bunch of bait cars, and wait for them to come ... arrest and prosecute.

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They do that in Tacoma. I’m not sure it has cut down on thefts but at least it’s something.
 
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I had a customer chew me out on the phone yesterday because Ford doesn't make a shield for his cats and we don't offer a service to weld rebar to his. I politely explained that all those do is add a minute or so to the theft when you use a Milwaukee SawzAll or a plasma cutter. I have seen some of the thieves with legit plasma cutters in their vans.
 
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I just saw this news. A Portland based crime ring has been busted. They were responsible for the theft of over 44,000 converters on the west coast since 2021. 😳😵‍💫


 
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It is NOT an acceptable request to make the vehicle manufacturer put the VIN on converters. It IS and acceptable request to make it harder to sell to scrap yards and to have stiffer fines/punishment for the thief. I work in a GM plant and it is not "no big deal" to set up VIN stamping for this. For one, even though parts are sequenced, they often get out of order and/or you need to change one on the line - this makes it very tricky for the plants to be 100% compliant. The equipment is also pretty expensive. I have set up assembly lines with the VIN plates and that alone is a disaster just keeping in compliance and the FEDS come in several times a year to check the process. What's next? Want the automaker to VIN etch glass? You as the vehicle purchaser can VIN etch the whole car if you want - but leave this cost out of the manufacturing segment. Criminals will not be worried about a VIN stamp.
 
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They’re already stealing cats, grinding the VIN off will add another 30 seconds and we’re right back at square one…. Unless you start engraving the vin somewhere on the inside of the cat housing but that’s not really possible with JIT manufacturing.
I agree. The JIT process, JIT or Lean Manufacturing process. Those exhaust systems including the cats (all one piece?) are shipped in from some 3rd party supplier, they don't make everything in house, rather assemble. So you have no real way to know which complete exhaust system (again, one piece usually. Some people are in for real surprises when and if it is time to replace a cat on your vehicle) is going into which car. The VIN gets assigned to the body sometime early in the manufacturing process, apparently it is stamped in multiple locations as to be tamper proof and super obvious if a VIN is altered, a Federal crime.

You'd have to put another robot to etch just before it gets to Final or some point along the way. Can be grinded off once off, unless doing so renders it useless.. cats get hot... but, let's continue.

So to VIN match parts.. okay I understand the unique identifier part, but I still maintain that these thefts are either straight up drug addicts looking for money for a fix, or organized crime. This is why you see news stories (latest was Houston?) of drug house or abandoned house raids turning up about a million dollars worth of catalytic converters, almost always with an attached exhaust because Gone In 60 Seconds.

Shooting the thieves may deter the issue.

Removing the ability to sell the stolen goods for money may deter the issue.

Thieves know what to target, how to get what they want, may take time, now if they walk into recycling yard and are either arrested (stall until law enforcement comes, should work swell) or told NO.. They may be deterred at that point. Again, apparently you can show up to these places with two shopping carts of cats with sawed off jagged pieces on the end, not exactly looking like you just came from a shop, and be paid. Quoting ETCG1 video, he got cats stolen from his driveway on camera and the uniform one person had on was a clue as someone recognized where it was from for a possible lead but.. yeah, in conclusion, remove the incentive and you MAY see a reduction in thefts. There's more, but, concluding there.
 

eljefino

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It is NOT an acceptable request to make the vehicle manufacturer put the VIN on converters. It IS and acceptable request to make it harder to sell to scrap yards and to have stiffer fines/punishment for the thief. I work in a GM plant and it is not "no big deal" to set up VIN stamping for this.
1. It's not a requirement for the manufacturer to do. It is a requirement for the dealer to do.

2. We as society have also demanded that manufacturers use or make safety glass, seat belts, air bags, unleaded gas or GTFO. The barriers to enter the automotive manfuacturing business are so high now that legacy companies like GM benefit greatly from the lack of competition. The only real new automaker of any threat to the big boys since Daewoo came out 25 years ago is Tesla, and they don't use internal combustion.
 
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You'd have to put another robot to etch just before it gets to Final or some point along the way. Can be grinded off once off, unless doing so renders it useless.. cats get hot... but, let's continue.
The only way that can happen IMO, is when the car leaves the factory/ship and it handed off to a 3PLP like AWC and the VIN marking is done when the Molroney sticker is printed and any accessories that isn’t factory installed is done.

Of course, since AWC et al hires workers at minimum wage that don’t care, it’s doubtful they’ll get the job done right or invest in the equipment.
 
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The only way that can happen IMO, is when the car leaves the factory/ship and it handed off to a 3PLP like AWC and the VIN marking is done when the Molroney sticker is printed and any accessories that isn’t factory installed is done.

Of course, since AWC et al hires workers at minimum wage that don’t care, it’s doubtful they’ll get the job done right or invest in the equipment.

No, I am agreeing with you, it won't happen, I worked at a plant and could tell you some stories but, either East or West plant, it's not gonna happen. I could tell you some stories about that. Lol.

I believe you're taking about either PIO or DIO, which is either Port Installed Accessories or Dealer Installed Accessories. I almost became a member of the ILA or International Longshoremen's Association when younger. Never came to fruition...

 
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The point of this law is that they aren't marked at the auto factory. Anyone in possession of a converter detached from a car and not marked is presumed to have stolen it.

Those who legitimately remove converters from cars (replacing a bad converter or dismantling a junk car) will mark them as part of the process.
 
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So. Remember how I said, shooting thieves may solve the problem? It saddens me to say, that, there was an incident the reverse of that.. what happens when you tell some folks no .....

 
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Having a death penalty for relatively minor crimes means that a minor criminal has nothing to lose. Logic dictates that he should kill everyone in his path as necessary to get away. This is why the laws don't have a death penalty for every crime. It would make the streets more dangerous for innocent people.
 
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Traceability. The cops are finding mass quantities of cats but can't pin them to specific police reports so there isn't a victim with standing to prosecute easily.
I could be wrong, but do have a problem believing that a ton of police effort is typically involved tracing down stolen cats.
 
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Am not a welder so I'm just asking: how much work is it to weld a metal plate over the cat so that it can't be removed? Is it like 20 minutes? One hour?

I'm thinking it could take enough extra time to cut through the plate that a thief would simply move on.

And if they actually try to cut it, maybe they...trip the boobytrap I set.

Just brainstorming.
 
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