California Has A Plan To End Catalytic Converter Theft

Catalytic converter theft has been on the rise for the past few years and can be a legitimate cause for concern. Los Angeles county alone experienced a 400% increase in reported catalytic converter thefts from 2019 to 2020, reports the Los Angeles Times. Motorists have even resorted to creating cages or other similar devices in an attempt to foil would-be metal thieves. 

These parts aid in filtering out carbon dioxide and other environmentally harmful emissions from a vehicle's exhaust system. Catalytic converters are being stolen because they are relatively easy to swipe from some vehicles like trucks, and the precious metals contained within (like palladium and platinum) can fetch a couple of hundred dollars at a scrap yard that's willing to look the other way, according to AutoZone

That means any enterprising ne'er-do-well with a reciprocating saw and a distaste for the law can score easy money over the course of a few hours. California has been hit the hardest by the wave of automotive component theft and it hopes upcoming legislation that was just signed into law will turn the tide. 

California is making it harder for thieves

On September 25, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed two bills into law in an effort to hopefully stave off future theft: SB-1087 and AB-1740, according to a tweet from the governor's office. Overall, both laws will make it harder for thieves to sell catalytic converters and prevent less than upstanding scrappers from receiving the stolen item. 

More specifically, SB-1087 will make it illegal for recyclers to receive catalytic converters from anyone but the documented owner of the component or documented car repair shops and dealers. AB-1740 will require recyclers to document every transaction involving catalytic converters including the number of converters and the specific monetary amount paid out for each transaction. 

With these bills signed into law, catalytic converter theft will hopefully start to wane. Thieves may just go to other states to sell off their ill-gotten gains, but it's only a matter of time before other states adopt similar laws. In the meantime, you can weld a cage around your catalytic converter to confound future attempts at theft, or you can start driving an electric car, which forgoes exhaust components entirely.