CHICAGO (CBS) — Forget what you know about spelling. Under some cars, the words “Don’t Steal” are spelled “EPD.”

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The stolen catalytic converters are most often sold to scrap yards, often costing theft victims thousands of dollars to replace.

Since the start of the year, Evanston has had more than 160 catalytic converter thefts.

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“It’s a difficult issue to address,” said Daley. “We’re trying to mark them. Hopefully they’ll see that and move on. If’ they took it to a scrap yard and maybe they won’t take them since they’ve been marked.”

The hope is that the bright red stencil will be a bright red flag.

“I feel like I’ve done something,” said Michelini. “There are not guarantees, but at least I can say I tried. Now it’s up to the universe.”

The event in Evanston was free but did require pre-registration. Evanston Police said the event was so popular and sold out so fast they are planning another one to be held sometime in the spring.

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The Illinois General Assembly is expected to address the proposed law at the start of the year.