Lawmakers Getting Tough on Catalytic Converter Thefts
A popular new crime last year is being addressed through a new proposal in the Washington State Legislature this year.
A Longview lawmaker says it's time to get tough on thieves
The new bill introduced last month by Sen. Jeff Wilson, R-Longview is aimed at the growing crime of catalytic converter thefts in Washington State.
Wilson says Senate Bill 5495 prohibits scrap dealers from purchasing catalytic converters except from commercial enterprises and vehicle owners. Scrap dealers who knowingly purchase or receive stolen catalytic converters would face misdemeanor charges.
Wilson says he's taking action to prevent further thefts
Wilson says he's taking action because he's concerned that thieves will flee the state of Oregon this month and start stealing in Washington State. That's because a new law is now in effect in Oregon that also targets catalytic converter thefts.
Wilson’s bill also requires scrap metal dealers to confirm ownership when catalytic converters are resold, and maintain records of vehicle identification numbers. Cash payments could not be made on the spot, and would have to be delayed at least five days. Wilson says "catalytic converter theft has become the crime of the day. We see reports on every police blotter in every corner of the state. And the crime has exploded in just the last year.”
The thieves are looking for precious metals
So why is the crime so popular? Because of the rising price for precious metals used in catalytic converters, which filter tailpipe gases and convert them to less-toxic pollutants.
Yakima Police aren't saying how many catalytic converter thefts happened in Yakima last year but authorities up and down the valley say it's a problem.