Maine is home to a suite of new rules designed to cut down on the theft of catalytic converters from cars.

Catalytic converters are sometimes targeted by thieves because they contain precious metals and are fairly easy to detach from a car. The Legislature has passed a law that puts safeguards into the chain of custody for the converters to try to stop thefts.

The rules require car dealers to engrave the vehicle identification number of a vehicle on to the catalytic converter. Recyclers must also engrave or permanently mark either the vehicle number or their license and stock number.

The state’s new rules also require residents who remove unmarked catalytic converters to engrave or mark the converter with the VIN.

The state’s new rules go into effect on Aug. 8. Secretary of State Shenna Bellows called the thefts “an infuriating trend” and said the new law would “provide some peace of mind to Mainers who are worried they may be next.”

The theft of catalytic converters has spiked around the country over the last three years.