Aldon Thomas Stiles | California Black Media
Responding to a crime trend involving the theft of catalytic converters, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed two bills on Sept. 25. The new laws, the Governor’s office said, prohibit the sale of used catalytic converters by parties who aren’t licensed auto dealers or dismantlers.
The bills require recyclers to keep specific records establishing a paper trail that tracks the devices used to control car emissions, which the legislations’ supporters say will reduce thefts.
Catalytic converters convert pollutant gases into less harmful gases in cars and cost between $800 to $1,200.
“California is helping to put the brakes on catalytic converter theft with the signing of two new bills. By eliminating a root cause of this issue these bills will help reduce crime and make Californians and their vehicles safer,” read a tweet from the California Bureau of Automotive Repair.
According to a study conducted by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), catalytic converter thefts jumped from 3,389 in 2019 to 14,433 in 2020 – a 325% increase.
Thieves often resell materials in the converters to other parties.
“People who buy and sell these parts now have to keep detailed records so we can better trace thefts if indeed they do occur,” said Newsom. “You take away the market for stolen goods, you can help cut down on stealing.”
The bills Newsom signed are Assembly Bill (AB) 1740, authored by Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance), and Senate Bill (SB) 1087, authored by Senator Lena Gonzalez (D-Long Beach).
“Catalytic converter theft has been a major problem in recent years & @AirResources & I join @CAGovernor in supporting efforts to deter theft by ensuring lawful transactions & imposing fines on violators,” tweeted (California Air Resources Board) CARB Chair Liane Randolph.
Violations of this new law will be punishable as a misdemeanor, leading to fines of up to $4,000.
According to NICB, in California, over the past three years, the cars that catalytic converter thieves targeted most often were the Toyota Prius, Honda Element, Honda Accord, Ford Econoline, Honda CRV, Ford F-250, Toyota Tundra, Toyota Sequoia, Ford Excursion and the Toyota Tacoma.
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