RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Dozens of Central Virginia residents got their catalytic converters marked with spray paint to make thieves think twice before trying to steal them.

Midas is partnering with Napa Auto Parts and law enforcement agencies across the region to  help deter a rise in thefts for these coveted car parts.

On Sunday, workers at the Midas on North Arthur Ashe Boulevard used heat-resistant spray paint to mark people’s catalytic converters. Workers also etched Vehicle Identification numbers (VINs) on them.

The markings will alert buyers that the car part was most likely stolen. The VIN number will trace back to the car owner and the paint’s color represents which jurisdiction it was stolen from. Richmond residents had theirs marked with bright orange.

Michael Laverty, who lives on the city’s Northside, said he heard about the event and immediately signed up for an appointment on Sunday.

“There’s been a rash of burglaries. You know, they can get them off your car in a heartbeat,” he said.

The Richmond and Henrico County police departments have reported hundreds of thefts so far this year.

Captain Faith Flippo, with the Richmond Police Department, said the surge of catalytic converter thefts concerned them.

“We’ve had a big issue in the city with catalytic converter thefts,” she said. “Let’s help together kind of ward off our thieves. Send them to a different location. Let them leave us alone.”

Laverty said he wants to do his part to help bring this crime trend down.

“If they offer you help, you should take advantage of it. It’s not so often that you get this free help,” he said. “It’s a great service. Thank you to Midas and everybody else.”

Flippo said events like this are a good way to help prevent the crime from happening, but people have to come out and participate.

“It is not just a police problem and it’s not just a citizen problem. It is all of our problem, and we all need to work together because that’s how we’re truly going to be successful and make this community safe for everybody,” she said.

If you missed Sunday’s event, there are more events you can sign up for.

Midas of Richmond is offering appointments for free catalytic converter markings during other days of the week. You can sign up for an appointment online now.