Following a recent wave of thefts of expensive catalytic converters from high-profile pickup trucks and SUVs (here’s a story I wrote a few months ago), the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office has partnered with Les Schwab Tire Centers to provide free license number etching for identification purposes in Stockton and Manteca. The free events, called Operation Etch & Catch, will be held from noon to 2 p.m. March 16 at two Les Schwab Tire Centers: 1717 W. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Stockton; and 1240 W. Yosemite Ave., Manteca. Trained technicians will etch the vehicle’s license number onto the catalytic converter underneath the vehicle. It will help discourage thieves from committing a crime and will aid law enforcement in the apprehension of the thieves and identifying where the part came from. The Sheriff’s Team of Active Retired Seniors, also known as STARS, is also participating in the free event. Information: Stockton (209) 465-4574 or Manteca (209) 824-9955.