State Lawmakers Advance Bill Targeting Catalytic Converter Thieves – NBC Connecticut

The bad guys haven’t let up since our piece on catalytic converter theft. Numerous cases keep getting reported to the NBC Connecticut newsroom.

Help may be on the way, with a key bill awaiting the governor’s signature.

Meanwhile, frustration has continued for vehicle owners.

Dave Greco of North Haven said he just became a catalytic converter theft victim. 

“It’s just an unforeseen expense that I wasn’t planning on just ticks you off to be honest,” Greco said.

NBC Connecticut Investigates recently explained why thieves are targeting the catalytic converters used to clean your exhaust.

Inside the catalytic converter are precious metals that command top dollar. Thieves can get several hundred dollars for just one.

State legislators recently took public comment on a bill tightening rules surrounding catalytic converter sales to auto recyclers, scrap metal recyclers, junkyards, and junk dealers.

Among those in favor of Senate Bill 256, the Insurance Association of Connecticut, whose members have witnessed a spike in claims for stolen catalytic converters.

Association president Eric George has supported “…making the process less attractive, less easy to get the money in their pocket, should reduce the rate.”

George released a statement to NBC Connecticut Investigates:

“Catalytic converter theft has become both a major public safety issue and a large burden on the insurance industry in Connecticut, which is why our industry applauds the quick action of both the State Senate and State House in passing legislation (Senate Bill 256) that should curb this issue and make it easier to crack down on thefts. By severely tightening regulations around the sale of catalytic converters to scrap yards, this should help reduce both the number of thefts, as well the number of claims filed with insurance companies — both of which benefit everyone.”

The key provision in the bill has aimed to deter thieves from thinking stealing and selling catalytic converters is a quick, easy, way to get cash.

The bill calls for scrap metal and junk dealers to only receive one detached catalytic converter per day from a seller. The payment must be a check mailed to the seller’s address or the seller must wait three days to pick it up.  

Auto recyclers were critical of provisions in the bill, calling for more documentation to trace sales.

“Twice per month every recycler has to file not only with the state of Connecticut, but also the federal government, on what cars we purchase and what we do with these cars. Having a third control is highly unnecessary”, said Joe Genovese, of A-Rite Used Auto Parts.

In the end, the public safety and security committee agreed to eliminate new documentation for auto recyclers. Scrap metal recyclers, junkyards, and junk dealers will have more paperwork.

The governor’s office told us he and his staff will carefully review this bill first, but said he is not immediately aware of any concerns.

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