The new policies introduced in California to combat catalytic converter theft is considered one of the most drastic measures in this field, likely to be followed by other states. The laws (Senate Bill 1087 and Assembly Bill 1740) will see increased penalties for buyers who fail to certify that a catalytic converter wasn’t stolen. This should limit thieves’ ability to find a buyer for the stolen parts.
Under the new laws, scrap metal recyclers and dealers must document how they buy catalytic converters and from whom. Only the legal owners and qualified sellers are allowed to sell the converters. The laws also require a traceable method of payment for catalytic converters. Besides that, the buyers must keep detailed records of the purchase, including information on the businesses selling the parts and the vehicles they were taken from.
“We’re going to get to the root cause, at least one of the root causes, in this crime. And that’s those brokers and those middlemen who pay top dollar for stolen parts. It will now be illegal in California to buy catalytic converters from anyone other than licensed auto dismantlers or dealers,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a video statement shared on Twitter. “You take away the market for stolen goods, you can help cut down on stealing.”
The legislation imposes a $1,000 fine for a first conviction and $2,000 for a second. There is also the additional penalty of a temporary suspension from operating as a recycler. It would be interesting to see whether the new legislation would effectively reduce catalytic converter theft. Surely other states are watching this closely and will probably adopt similar measures if this proves successful. Because otherwise, the thieves would just sell their stolen parts in states that allow it.