January 30, 2023

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Gray’s bill aims to fight catalytic converter theft

A bill by Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-Merced) to overcome skyrocketing fees of catalytic converter theft has cleared its initial legislative hurdle. The Assembly Transportation Committee accredited AB 2682 on Monday with help coming from each Democrats and Republicans.

“Nearly a dozen charges have been launched in the Legislature this yr to tackle catalytic converter theft,” mentioned Grey. “AB 2682 is a single of the couple with bipartisan assist.”

A catalytic converter is a component in a vehicle’s exhaust system that converts hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen oxides into significantly less unsafe h2o vapor and carbon dioxide. In purchase to work, catalytic converters have to contain specific treasured metals like palladium, rhodium, and platinum to create the essential chemical reaction.

Even though catalytic converter theft is not new, new spikes in the price of cherished metals monitor a spike in thefts.

“Five decades ago, an ounce of rhodium cost $850 but now sells for a lot more than $18,000,” mentioned Gray. “Surging values for cherished metals have driven up the incidence of catalytic transform theft by extra than 1,000 p.c. And it could get even worse. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is anticipated to generate charges even bigger for these important metals with Russia manufacturing nearly 40% of the world’s mined palladium.”

In accordance to the Nationwide Insurance coverage Crime Bureau (NICB), catalytic converter thefts nationwide have improved much more than tenfold in just 3 a long time and California sales opportunities the country, accounting for more than 30 p.c of all promises filed with Point out Farm. The NICB described 1,298 catalytic converter thefts in 2018, increasing to 3,389 in 2019, and 14,433 in 2020.

Steady with recommendations by legislation enforcement groups across the nation and the Bureau of Automotive Fix, Gray’s monthly bill would call for vehicle sellers to permanently mark the catalytic converter of new and utilised vehicles with the vehicle’s VIN.

The autos most often focused in California are the Toyota Prius, Honda Component, Honda Accord, Ford Econoline, Honda CRV, Ford F-250, Toyota Tundra, Toyota Sequoia, Ford Tour, and the Toyota Tacoma.

“Thieves typically flip catalytic converters for $50 to $500 while victims can anticipate to shell out wherever from $1,000 to $4,000 to get their automobile fastened,” stated Gray. “Unless a thief is caught in the act red-handed, law enforcement officers have several assets to investigate this criminal offense. Even when a suspect is arrested, lots of are by no means prosecuted.”

“Once a thief receives away with your catalytic converter, there is typically minor legislation enforcement can do to confirm a suspect committed the theft,” mentioned Gray. “By requiring these parts to be marked, a detached catalytic converter can be traced again to its original auto and legal possession can be founded. If the marking on the catalytic converter is removed, then possession of that catalytic converter is a criminal offense – which will serve as a major deterrent for any black-industry repair service store or recycler to choose possession of the stolen part.”

Gray’s bill is supported by the California District Attorneys Affiliation, the California Law enforcement Chiefs Association, Valley Clear Air Now, AAA, and the Personalized Insurance policies Federation of California. Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke testified in assistance of Gray’s bill, noting he has been given many complaints from nearby inhabitants impacted by precious metal thefts.

The bill future heads to the Assembly Public Security Committee. If authorised, it will progress to the Appropriations Committee ahead of acquiring a entire vote on the Ground in mid-Might.