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Catalytic converter thieves targeted by new California law

California Governor Gavin Newsom on Sunday announced that he has signed new bills into law to make it much harder to sell stolen catalytic converters. Steal from emissions Mitigation devices have spiked over the past few years, with shameless thieves stealing them from below cars on the driveway or broad daylight.

The LA time reported that the law, Senate Bill 1087 proposed by State Senator Lena Gonzalez (D-Long Beach), and Council Bill 1740 launched by Council member Al Muratsuchi (D-Rolling Hills Estates), will force used car and parts recyclers authorized dealer to record where they are receiving the catalytic converter. Thieves will often sell stolen “cats” to stores that can look the other way for the source of those parts.

Car and Driver The report further states that stores will be required to keep an authorized log that includes the VIN or identification number etched into the catalytic converter itself, the contract with the merchant’s ID, and accessible payment methods. original. Spare parts resellers who do not keep logs will be fined increasingly, $1,000 for the first violation, $2,000 for the second violation, resulting in business suspension.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, theft of catalytic converters has is on the rise. In 2019, cat thefts were reported nationwide total only 3,389by Country Insurance Crime Department. The number of reports increased to 14,433 in 2020. By 2021, this number has increased to 65,398, up 353% from the previous year.

Thieves target catalytic converters because they are filled with precious metals such as platinum, palladium and rhodium. The value of those materials has skyrocketed over the past few years. We reported in 2021 that rhodium specifically was $640/ounce in 2016, but spiked to $21,900/ounce five years later. Things have only gotten worse since Russia invaded Ukraine, like provide a significant portion of the world’s supply of those metals.

Thieves usually target higher vehicles like intersect, SUVs, and pickup trucks, because it’s easier to get under them to get to the cat. However, the 2004-09 Toyota Prius is also one of the most frequently hunted cars, because of its cats. have a street value of over $1,000. List of cars with the most accidents read like a bestseller listthat makes sense.

Although the cat itself is expensive, owners often have to replace other, larger parts of the exhaust system. That’s because thieves use a motion saw to simply cut the cat without regard for how much damage it has done to the rest of the car. It’s the fastest way to complete this section, usually taking just a minute or so.

“It is now illegal in California to buy catalytic converters from anyone other than licensed auto dealers or dismantlers,” Newsom said. “You go to the market to buy stolen goods, you can help reduce theft.” Newsom seems to concede that it won’t eliminate the problem entirely. Thieves rings can often spanning multiple statuses as evidenced by a recent high-profile arrestso other jurisdictions will have to follow suit. Car and Driver there’s a map showing what states are doing about catalytic conversion crime.

With any rule, it’s always a game of cat and mouse as persistent criminals find new ways to circumvent the law. But before long, perhaps some drivers in California will get a payoff from the thieves.

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