Gov. Hochul signs legislation to combat rise in catalytic converter theft

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ALBANY, NY (WENY) – Monday, state leaders took steps to “crack down on car theft” as the number of catalytic converter thefts rises. Gov. Kathy Hochul signed legislation that restricts the purchase, sale, and possession of catalytic converters by vehicle dismantlers and scrap processors.

“This is a serious problem. No one should have to worry about this, it’s an enormous cost for families. They don’t need the stress; they don’t need the worry. You shouldn’t have to go to bed at night wondering if someone is stealing this valuable commodity out of your own driveway,” Hochul said.

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the number of catalytic converter thefts increased from roughly 1300 in 2018 to more than 52,000 in 2021.

A catalytic converter is essentially a piece of a cars exhaust system that helps reduce harmful emissions. Catalytic converters contain highly valuable metals like palladium, rhodium, and platinum. Some of these metals are valued at up to $20,000 per ounce.

And for victims of catalytic converter theft, it can cost a dealer thousands of dollars to replace the converter.

“We want the criminals to know, the gig is up. We’re coming after you. We have the resources, the technology, and the will to stop these crimes from happening,” Hochul said.

In addition to imposing restrictions on the purchase, sale, and possession of catalytic converters by dismantlers, the bill will also require vehicle dealers to stock catalytic converter etching kits to be offered at no cost to the consumer.

An etching kit labels your converter and is linked to the cars Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) registration. This helps track the stolen auto-part. There are also insurance plans and alarm systems for catalytic converters.

The bill will go into effect in 180 days.


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