Catalytic converters are a very valuable car part located beneath most motor vehicles. The devices convert harmful pollutants in internal combustion engine (ICE) exhaust gases into less toxic ones. According to David Glawe, the president and CEO of the National Insurance Crime Bureau, “Catalytic converters contain numerous rare earth metals, such as platinum, palladium, or rhodium. Those rare earth metals are the key driver in theft.” As we discussed in 2022, lawmakers around the country have sought to address the issue and have crafted legislation to inhibit and crack down on catalytic converter theft.
Arkansas: Lawmakers Propose to Amend Scrap Metal Recycling Laws and To Make Catalytic Converter Theft a Separate Offense
On February 7, 2023, House Bill 1365 was introduced by members of the state legislature. HB 1365 regulates the records collected by scrap metal recyclers and creates separate infractions for theft of a catalytic converter. Those possessing a catalytic converter must have the date the converter was removed and the vehicle identification number of the motor vehicle that it was taken from permanently marked on the catalytic converter. If a person either commits, aids, or is an accomplice of the theft of a catalytic converter, they will be committing theft of property. If a person knowingly possesses a catalytic converter that is not marked permanently and is not the owner of the vehicle it was removed from or if they have the catalytic converter at their business or their place of employment, they will be committing unauthorized possession of a catalytic converter. Theft of a catalytic converter is a Class C felony under the legislation. If a person is convicted, they must pay restitution for the value to repair or replace the catalytic converter. A person will also be convicted of a Class C felony if they knowingly possess an unmarked catalytic converter or have a previous conviction for unauthorized possession of a catalytic converter. House Bill 1365 was signed into law on March 13, 2023.
New Jersey: Catalytic Converter Theft Prevention Pilot Program
On March 30,2023, lawmakers in New Jersey introduced Assembly Bill 5352. The bill would create a two-year Catalytic Converter Theft Prevention Pilot Program to help the Department of Law & Public Safety stop theft and retrieve stolen property. The bill would require the Superintendent of State Police to identify motor vehicles that could be targeted for catalytic converter theft and prioritize areas of the state that are most targeted for theft for participation in the new program. This bill would also require auto dealers, mechanics, and vehicle owners to be provided with a method to mark a catalytic converter distinctively. The superintendent would maintain a registry for program participation to make it easier to find stolen catalytic converters. The Department of Law and Public Safety would be given $500,000 to support the pilot program. When the program expires, the Attorney General would report findings and recommendations to the governor and legislature. The catalytic theft converter bill has not moved further in its legislative process after it was introduced and referred to the Assembly Law and Public Safety Committee.
Kansas: Scrap Metal Theft Reduction Act is Extended and Includes Catalytic Converters
On April 24, 2023, the governor signed House Bill 2326, extending the Scrap Metal Reduction Act from July 1, 2023, to July 1, 2028. House Bill 2326 specifies what is considered regulated scrap metal and includes catalytic converters in that classification. HB 2326 prohibits scrap metal dealers from purchasing from unauthorized sellers if a catalytic converter has a defaced identification mark, paint applied by the owner, or identification number, as well as if the catalytic converter has been modified by removing the make, model, or manufacturer’s number. Lastly, House Bill 2326 bans the unauthorized sale of any by-product or dust containing platinum, palladium, or rhodium.
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