Triple-I Blog | Catalyst-converter thefts prompt lawmakers to act

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Max Dorfman, Research Writer, Triple-I

The increasing theft of catalytic converters—driven, in part, by increased black market prices for motor vehicle pollution-control components—has prompted renewed state and federal attention to stopping these crimes.

Converter theft increased In 2021, 52,206 were reported, up from 1,298 in 2018, according to claims data from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB). Catalytic converters are part of a vehicle’s exhaust system, reducing toxic gases and pollutants into safe emissions. Although the area itself is valuable –Sometimes each rises to more than $1,000 Precious metals on the black market can be more valuable than gold. They include palladium, platinum, and rhodium, the latter of which Valued at $20,000 per ounce.

The NICB has found a strong correlation between “stressed times, limited resources and the disruption of the supply chain that drives these thefts”.

By late 2022, the US Department of Justice, along with federal, state and local law enforcement partners, Broke a network Thieves, dealers and processors involved in selling stolen catalytic converters to metal refiners for millions of dollars. The ring spanned nine states from California to Virginia. The US is now seizing $545 million related to the case.

“This national network of criminals is hurting victims across the country,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray. “They made hundreds of millions of dollars in the process – on the backs of thousands of innocent car owners.”

Lawmakers are taking note

In 2021, 26 states across the United States proposed bills to restrict the theft of catalytic converters. Strict laws in Arkansas, South Carolina and Texas require scrap metal buyers to maintain records of catalytic converter purchases. In Minnesota, A Catalytic converter anti-theft scheme constituted for the investigation and prosecution of this offence.

More recently, U.S. Representative Jim Bird of Indiana introduced a federalism.Preventing Vehicle Recycling Theft Act,” which would help law enforcement solve these thefts by tagging each converter with a traceable identification number and establishing federal penalties.

“Whoever steals or knowingly, unlawfully, carries or conceals a catalytic converter from another person’s motor vehicle, or knowingly purchases such catalytic converter or precious metal with intent to distribute, sell or dispose of it. so in inter-State or foreign commerce shall be liable to fine under this title or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 5 years or to both,” the Act reads.

Sen. of Minnesota. The legislation was introduced in the Senate by Amy Klobuchar and Ron Wyden of Oregon.

Preventive measures can be taken

The NICB recommends Here are several steps to protect yourself from catalytic converter theft:

  • Install a catalytic converter and anti-theft device.
  • Park fleet trucks in an enclosed area that is secure, well-lit, locked and alarmed.
  • Park personal vehicles in garages, if possible. If that’s not possible and the vehicle must be parked in a driveway, consider installing motion sensor security lights. Whether in the garage or out in the driveway, set an alarm if your vehicle is equipped.
  • A local visit NICB catalyzed transesterification event. If none are currently planned in your area, contact a muffler shop that can engrave your vehicle’s VIN into the converter and spray it with high-heat paint.

The NICB notes that these thefts may be covered by insurance under the optional comprehensive section of your insurance policy, which provides coverage for non-collision damage to your vehicle.


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