catalytic converter

Bill Aims to Crack Down on Catalytic Converter Thefts

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With catalytic converter thefts on the rise, one Massachusetts lawmaker is trying to crack down on the trend by going after the buyers instead of the sellers. 

State Rep. Steven Howitt, R - 4th Bristol, filed a bill that would require those who purchase catalytic converters to get detailed records from the person who is selling it, including an ID and proof of ownership. 

"What we’re trying to do is dry up the market for catalytic converters," Rep. Howitt said. 

The Republican lawmaker from Seekonk would also require buyers to pay for the converters with a check instead of cash.

"That creates a chain of custody and identifies who is bringing in these catalytic converters," Howitt said. 

At Route 1 Automotive and Tire in Plainville, they know how tough it is to catch the thieves. They have caught them on their surveillance cameras multiple times, but have yet to see it lead to an arrest. 

"They’re either in a stolen car or have no plates. You can’t trace them or who they are," manager Pete Huckins said. 

Huckins said he thinks the bill is a good idea considering the thieves make roughly $400 per converter. 

"There would be no sense in stealing them if they can’t redeem them," Huckins said. 

Catalytic converters are a popular target because they're relatively easy to steal and contain precious metals that make it possible to sell them for anywhere from $50 to $300 apiece. They're worth even more when lifted from hybrid gas-electric vehicles, like a Toyota Prius, because their converters contain more of the metals.

As they wait to see if the bill becomes a law, the owner of Route 1 Automotive has added cameras and has also put up a sign letting drivers know the business is not responsible if it happens on their lot.

There has been an uptick in thefts of catalytic converters from parked vehicles.
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