www.post-journal.com, October 19, 2022

Gov. Kathy Hochul this week signed legislation to combat the theft of catalytic converters from vehicles.

The new law will impose restrictions on the purchase, sale and possession of catalytic converters by vehicle dismantlers and scrap processers.

“Public safety is my top priority, and we’re taking an aggressive, targeted approach to deter criminals from stealing catalytic converters,” Hochul said. “Catalytic converter thefts have skyrocketed across our state and nation, and these comprehensive actions double down on our efforts to keep New Yorkers and their property safe, protecting our communities and cracking down on crime.”

Catalytic converters filter pollutants from a vehicle’s exhaust system. According to the Associated Press, the emission control devices are made with valuable precious metals and sit on the underside of a vehicle; they can be removed in a matter of minutes with a machine-powered saw.

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, which tracks crimes reported to insurance companies, the number of reported catalytic converter thefts increased from roughly 1,300 in 2018 to more than 52,000 in 2021 — an increase of roughly 1,215% from 2019.

The legislation signed by Hochul amends the Vehicle and Traffic Law to add catalytic converters as a major component vehicle part, which will require vehicle dismantlers to maintain records of them. Every 60 days, the governor said, those businesses must report the number of catalytic converters received during that period.

Failing to maintain or produce those records upon request is a class A misdemeanor and could include monetary penalties of up to double the amount made in taking in allegedly stolen converter components. Continue article