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Washington state passes law to stop catalytic converter theft

(Sunday, February 13, 2022) — The Washington House of Representatives Saturday passed legislation to stem the sharp rise in catalytic converter thefts across Washington state. HB 1815 requires a scrap metal business engaging in a transaction involving a catalytic converter removed from a vehicle to record documentation indicating that it came from a vehicle registered in the seller’s name.

“Stolen catalytic converters contain precious metals which can be sold for quick cash,” said 32nd District Rep. Cindy Ryu, the legislation’s lead sponsor. “The amount that thieves receive for a stolen catalytic converter is typically around 10 percent of the total costs suffered by the owners of the vehicles they are stolen from.”

Older vehicles, Ryu added, “are effectively totaled by catalytic converter theft, compounding the harm for people who depend on their vehicle to get to work, or to drive their kids to school.

“All of our constituents are finding higher prices at the grocery store, and policymakers have a responsibility to do all we can to keep supply chains moving. The trucking industry is begging us to help prevent catalytic converter thefts from further breaking down the delivery of goods and food. That’s why I am pleased by the bipartisan vote, but surprised it wasn’t unanimous,” Ryu continued.

Read more in My Edmonds News

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captain gort
7 months ago

Good law. It’s a no-brainer. Name any scrap dealer who buys any undocumented (ie, stolen) converters an accessory to the theft and punish them equally. Duh? But- like SOOOO many “laws” these days…will it ACTUALLY be enforced????

Carolle Graham
7 months ago

I just sent a letter to our Attorney General for the state of Indiana, Mr. Todd Rokita, to try & bring attention to this issue for our state. It is ridiculous that hard working people have to lose their possessions to crooks & thieves who turn around and use the money for drugs and other nefarious actions. I know it happens all the time but surely there is something that can be done to stop some of this.

Maurizio Taglianini
7 months ago

It’s the old “demand and supply” when there is demand there is supply and going after the demand it’s less dangerous then going after the supply 🙂

Thomas D
7 months ago

Where i take scrap they take a photo of you holding up the cat that has you DL # written on it with tire crayon and they fingerprint y ou also. I don’t think thieves come in there.

Bob
7 months ago

In theory that sounds great, However, how and who is going to track these sales?
What about the converters stolen in Washington being sold in another state?
It also does not say what the punishment to the seller and scrap yard is going to be. Anything less than a felony to both is about worthless. Full restitution to the victim and hefty fines for both the thief and business, and possible business closure needs to be addressed.
Our justice system does not have the manpower or time to prosecute “petty” thefts.

Tommy Molnar
7 months ago

Problem is, I’m sure there are plenty of unscrupulous scrap dealers who take in all kinds of stuff with no identification of any kind. Like stolen goods ‘fences’. Crooks know where these places are. This is almost as good as painting your ‘cat’ bright orange to ‘discourage’ theft.

Bob p
7 months ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

Yeah like a thief in the dark is going to look at what color is the CAT? Oh I can’t steal that it’s the wrong color, makes about as much sense as people putting a sign on the back of their SUV “BABY ON BOARD”, oh I mustn’t crash into the rear of that car because there’s a baby in it. DUH!!

Tommy Molnar
7 months ago
Reply to  Bob p

Exactly. And most times, there ISN’T a baby on board.

I’ve looked online for deterrents and theft-proof ‘cat’ stuff and while some look good (and expensive), most seem like they only make the removal a tad slower, but not impossible. Many think manufacturers (who know what’s going on out there) should do more to help prevent these thefts. I agree.

The orange color is ‘supposed’ to make taking the stolen cat to a legitimate scrap dealer harder to do, since the dealer should know no cats come orange from the manufacturer.

BILLY Bob Thronton
7 months ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

I know, ban all battery operated reciprocating saws! Now theres a law with some teeth.

Tommy Molnar
7 months ago

Nah, just ban crooks from buying these saws. That will stop the practice in its tracks.

BILLY Bob Thronton
7 months ago
Reply to  Tommy Molnar

Tommy, what would a picture of a thief look like. Be careful my friend, this is a family friendly website!!

BILLY Bob Thronton
7 months ago
Reply to  Bob p

Just think of the guy who first thought of that sign. Got to had it to him, the dude made a lot of money!

Admin
RV Staff(@rvstaff)
7 months ago
Reply to  Bob p

Hi, Bob. I think the purpose of the “Baby on Board” sign is because of the high-occupancy vehicle lanes, where there has to be one or more passengers in addition to the driver. So, if there is a driver and a “baby on board” which other drivers might not be able to see, that vehicle can legally drive in the HOV lane and not get reported by other drivers for violating that restriction. Have a great day. 🙂 –Diane

BILLY Bob Thronton
7 months ago
Reply to  RV Staff

Im not so sure Diane. Us old guys have good memories, despite what our wives might say, and i honestly remember those being around years and years ago, way before those lanes were constructed.

Admin
RV Staff(@rvstaff)
7 months ago

Hi, Billy Bob. I’m an oldie, also, with a pretty good long-term memory (short-term is not so good anymore!). I don’t remember seeing those bumper stickers or signs in car rear windows until I-5 was built in the ’60s and HOV lanes were used in the Seattle area. But I don’t know about anywhere else. Have a good afternoon/evening. 🙂 –Diane

BILLY Bob Thronton
7 months ago
Reply to  RV Staff

Diane, im an east coast guy, with not an HOV within 400 miles of my location. Maybe it migrated east as a fashion statement.

Always remember this; fashion and trends start on the west coast, Hollywod, etc., while graft and corruption was invented on the east coast, Gambino crime family etc. Have a wonderful week.

Admin
RV Staff(@rvstaff)
7 months ago

Thanks for the info, Billy Bob. I’ve been in the north Seattle area since 1946. Yep, that’s why my long-term memory is so good, compared to my (sometimes nonexistent) short-term memory. Because I’m so old. 😆 Have a good night. 🙂 –Diane

Jesse Crouse
7 months ago

I am a plumber and when I take scrap Copper ,brass and wire to the scrap dealer I have to show my state drivers license and they copy it for each transaction no matter how well they know me. We are 5 miles from the Pa./ De. border and they do the same for out of staters. Seems to work.

Bob p
7 months ago
Reply to  Jesse Crouse

Sounds like you’re dealing with a law abiding scrap dealer, I’ll bet there’s at least one close by who will buy a scrap CAT for $40 knowing he can sell the contents for 15 times that much. Money talks!

BILLY Bob Thronton
7 months ago
Reply to  Jesse Crouse

Next time your at the desk, ask em how many catlytic converts they get in a week. Based on their answer, you can assess if its working for them.

Spike
7 months ago

Sounds good but I wonder how a definitive link between any given converter and a specific vehicle is known. While this law makes it harder, it won’t stop it. If someone comes in with a converter and claims it came from a vehicle they own, can the sale happen? Could only sell one converter per shop per actual title the thief has.

Unfortunately where there is good money, a way around a law will be found. I didn’t read the law, so perhaps the specifics of the law will help. It would require tracking and verification to be a detterant.

Roger
7 months ago

Excellent! Should be adopted nationwide!

BILLY Bob Thronton
7 months ago
Reply to  Roger

Not so fast. Each state has the authority to make their own laws, based on the needs decided by their elected representatives.

Friz Freleng
7 months ago

And the nanny state marches on. The gov’t originally passed legislation creating the problem. Now they do the same, passing legislation, again. Wait, is that not the definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result? I find it difficult to believe that after 30 or 40 years of catalytic converters a more feasible system has not been developed.

Bob p
7 months ago
Reply to  Friz Freleng

This is what happens when we elect lawyers to our legislators, no common sense just a bunch of legal mumbo jumbo. Lol

Bill T
7 months ago

About time.

Bill Braniff
7 months ago

Wow. All States should follow their lead.

BILLY Bob Thronton
7 months ago
Reply to  Bill Braniff

Nope. Individual states shall decide.

TexasScout
7 months ago

BRAVO! It’s about time. Now we just need to get all 50 states on board.

MIke
7 months ago
Reply to  TexasScout

Everyone should ask their state representative to get this going. The thefts are rampant.

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