Sen. Brian W. Jones, R-Santee, Thursday introduced a measure intended to crackdown on reports of increasing catalytic converter theft in California.
He characterized thefts of catalytic converters as having “skyrocketed in the last several months.”
“Unfortunately, unless some changes in the law are made it will only get worse,” Jones said.
“Thieves often face few risks in getting caught or prosecuted, yet the car or truck owner faces thousands of dollars in repairs and the inability to use their vehicle for days or weeks while it’s being repaired,” he said. “My bill will help discourage, prevent and prosecute the growing crime of catalytic converter theft in California.”
Senate Bill 919 would focus on catalytic converter theft in three ways:
- Calling on new and used motor vehicle dealers to permanently mark the Vehicle Identification Number on the catalytic converter of any vehicle before they sell it.
- Only allowing metal recyclers to buy catalytic converters that have a clearly visible and untampered VIN. They also would have to keep detailed records of who sold them each specific catalytic converter and make those records accessible to law enforcement, and
- By requiring sales documentation on catalytic converters, as well as increasing fines, intended to discourage theft.
A catalytic converter is a smog-control device on a motor vehicle. Stolen catalytic converters can bring the thief up to $250 for a few minutes of work, yet cost the motorist up to $4,000 to replace according to a report by the California Bureau of Automotive Repair.
According to a recent report on Investopedia.com, Jones cited, California is the number one state for such thefts.
SB 919 is sponsored by the Chula Vista Police Department and is awaiting assignment to a policy committee for hearing.
“I’m so grateful to Senator Jones and his office for backing this bill to combat catalytic converter theft, an issue that has impacted countless victims,” said Chula Vista Police Chief Roxana Kennedy. “This legislation is critical to protecting the property interests of our community and beyond.”
– City News Service