LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Catalytic converter theft is a common problem in Southern California, and the Auto Club says it's getting worse.
This week it's offering to etch vehicle identification numbers onto catalytic converters to deter thefts.
The "converter etching" is free for members at nearly 20 different locations in Los Angeles and Orange counties.
The VIN number will be etched onto the converter. It won't necessarily stop thieves from taking it, but it might discourage them.
Replacing a stolen converter and repairing damage done by the thieves can run into the thousands of dollars.
The Auto Club says the number of converter thefts more than doubled from 2019 to 2020, and nearly doubled again the following year.