COOK COUNTY, Ill. — Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart unveiled a new tool Wednesday he said will help deter the ongoing and costly theft of catalytic converters across Cook County.

The new tool etches a vehicle’s VIN number onto the catalytic converter, making it easier for law enforcement to trace recovered stolen catalytic converters back to the original owner, while also increasing the potential for criminal charges.

In May, the Cook County Sheriff’s Police recovered more than 600 stolen catalytic converters from a residence in unincorporated Worth Township. According to data from the National Insurance Crime Bureau, more than 64,000 catalytic converters were stolen last year, making Illinois the fourth highest state for such thefts in the country.

Moving forward, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) will provide spray painting and the etching program free of charge to pre-registered motorists at community events happening in the near future across Cook County.

For more information on future events where Cook County motorists can partake in the spray painting and etching of their catalytic converters, CCSO can be contacted by emailing [email protected].