Triple-I Weblog | Catalytic Converter Thefts Up, SpurringLawmakers to Act

By Max Dorfman, Analysis Author, Triple-I

Rising thefts of catalytic converters – pushed, no less than partially, by elevated black-market costs for the motorized vehicle pollution-control part – have prompted renewed state and federal concentrate on stopping these crimes.

Converter thefts rose in 2021, with 52,206 reported, up from 1,298 in 2018, in keeping with claims knowledge from the Nationwide Insurance coverage Crime Bureau (NICB). Catalytic converters are a part of a car’s exhaust system, decreasing poisonous fuel and pollution and turning them into secure emissions. Although the half itself is effective—sometimes rising above $1,000 each on the black-market—the valuable metals inside will be extra priceless than gold. They embody palladium, platinum, and rhodium, the latter of which is valued at $20,000 per ounce.

The NICB has discovered a powerful hyperlink between “instances of disaster, restricted assets, and disruption of the availability chain that drives these thefts.”

In late 2022, the U.S. Division of Justice, alongside federal, state, and native legislation enforcement companions, broke up a network of thieves, sellers, and processors concerned in promoting stolen catalytic converters to a steel refinery for tens of tens of millions of {dollars}. The ring spanned 9 states, from California to Virginia. The US is now pursuing forfeiture of $545 million related to the case.

“This nationwide community of criminals harm victims throughout the nation,” mentioned FBI Director Christopher Wray. “They made tons of of tens of millions of {dollars} within the course of—on the backs of hundreds of harmless automobile house owners.”

Lawmakers take discover

In 2021, 26 states throughout the U.S. proposed payments to restrict the theft of catalytic converters. Stringent legal guidelines in Arkansas, South Carolina, and Texas require scrap steel patrons to keep up information of catalytic converter purchases. In Minnesota, a Catalytic Converter Theft Prevention Program was created for investigation and prosecution of this crime.

Extra just lately, U.S. Rep. Jim Baird of Indiana launched a federal “Preventing Auto Recycling Theft Act,” which might assist legislation enforcement handle these thefts by marking every converter with a traceable identification quantity and establishing federal penalties.

“Whoever steals or knowingly and unlawfully takes, carries away, or conceals a catalytic converter from one other individual’s motorized vehicle, or knowingly purchases such a catalytic converter, with the intent to distribute, promote, or get rid of such catalytic converter or any treasured steel eliminated therefrom in interstate or overseas commerce shall be fined beneath this title or imprisoned no more than 5 years, or each,” the laws says.

Companion laws has been launched within the Senate by Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota and Ron Wyden of Oregon.

Preventive measures will be taken

The NICB recommends a number of steps to guard your self from catalytic converter thefts:

  • Set up a catalytic converter anti-theft gadget.
  • Park fleet vehicles in an enclosed space that’s secured, effectively lighted, locked and alarmed. 
  • Park private automobiles, if potential, in a storage. If not potential and the car should be parked in a driveway, think about putting in movement sensor safety lights. Whether or not within the storage or outdoors within the driveway, set the alarm in your car if geared up.
  • Attend a neighborhood NICB catalytic converter etching event. If none are presently scheduled in your space, contact a muffler store that may etch your car’s VIN on the converter, and spray it with a extremely seen high-heat paint.

The NICB notes that these thefts will be lined by insurance coverage beneath the elective complete portion of your insurance coverage coverage, which supplies protection for harm to your car not brought on by a collision.