New California law aims to crack down on catalytic converter thefts

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) — Lawmakers are trying to crack down on catalytic converter theft.

Within seconds, crooks can remove the expensive part of the car, as seen in several surveillance videos.

RELATED: Video shows catalytic converter theft in Fresno in less than 2 minutes

They sell it on the black market or sell it to a recycler who can strip it for its precious metals.

But Brunos Iron and Metal owner Randy Tosi said because of all the theft, he felt the need to stop buying them.

“It’s sad, that’s part of the reason we don’t buy them… We don’t want to make it easy for thieves to get money and it’s very easy to steal,” he says.

For 58 years, his Fresno County business has recycled just about anything, but he stopped buying catalytic converters about a decade ago.

“There’s a lot of money in it and it’s tempting, but … we have pretty high values ​​here,” he says.

Assembler Jim Patterson says catalytic converter theft is up 900 percent in Fresno County from 2020 to 2021.

“It’s a real epidemic of theft,” he says.

RELATED: Report reveals which vehicles are targeted for catalytic converter theft

That’s why he introduced AB 1653 – Authorizing a CHP task force to assist in catalytic converter theft investigations.

“Anytime we can focus state and local law enforcement resources on a specific set of problems, we’ve really seen some results,” Patterson says.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has now signed the bill to try to prosecute more fraudsters.

But law enforcement officials say that law won’t stop the thefts.

RELATED: What you can do to prevent catalytic converter theft

They suggest that to really improve things, the state needs to create a system where car owners put identification numbers on their catalytic converters that correspond to the VIN number and store them in a DMV database.

Currently, unless an officer stops someone in the act, they cannot prove that the converter is stolen.

“You have to be able to identify the product. There’s no numbers, there’s no tags, there’s nothing on these cats. And you can’t say it’s mine, no way,” says Randy Tosi.

This new working group will be established in January.

Patterson says no additional funding was needed to create the task force.

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New California law aims to crack down on catalytic converter thefts Source link New California law aims to crack down on catalytic converter thefts

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