Triple-I Weblog | Catalytic Converter Thefts Up, Spurring Motion from Lawmakers

By Max Dorfman, Analysis Author, Triple-I

Rising thefts of catalytic converters – pushed, at the least partially, by elevated black-market costs for the motorcar pollution-control element – have prompted renewed state and federal give attention to stopping these crimes.

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

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

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

“This nationwide community of criminals damage victims throughout the nation,” stated FBI Director Christopher Wray. “They made tons of of hundreds of thousands of {dollars} within the course of—on the backs of hundreds of harmless automobile homeowners.”

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 metallic patrons to take care of data 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 regulation enforcement deal with 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 particular person’s motorcar, or knowingly purchases such a catalytic converter, with the intent to distribute, promote, or eliminate such catalytic converter or any treasured metallic eliminated therefrom in interstate or overseas commerce shall be fined underneath 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 machine.
  • Park fleet vans in an enclosed space that’s secured, effectively lighted, locked and alarmed. 
  • Park private autos, if potential, in a storage. If not potential and the automobile should be parked in a driveway, think about putting in movement sensor safety lights. Whether or not within the storage or exterior within the driveway, set the alarm in your automobile if geared up.
  • Attend an area NICB catalytic converter etching event. If none are at present scheduled in your space, contact a muffler store that may etch your automobile’s VIN on the converter, and spray it with a extremely seen high-heat paint.

The NICB notes that these thefts will be coated by insurance coverage underneath the optionally available complete portion of your insurance coverage coverage, which supplies protection for harm to your automobile not attributable to a collision.