Examining Connecticut’s catalytic converter laws as thefts continue

Examining catalytic converter laws in CT as thefts continue
Published: Jan. 23, 2023 at 6:34 PM EST
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(WFSB) - These most recent catalytic converter thefts are just another example of the continued and growing problem in our state.

There is a new law in place designed to make it harder to sell catalytic converters but is it working, and why are they so valuable?

It kind of looks like a muffler and it sits underneath your car, but with the right tools, thieves can take it in minutes.

Catalytic converters have very expensive, precious metals inside them, and many thieves appear to be undeterred at stopping from stealing them.

“It’s something that continues to plague towns around the state,” said Cheshire Police Chief and President of the Connecticut Police Chiefs association Neil Dryfe.

Dryfe said catalytic converter thefts continue to be a big problem in Connecticut.

A new law took effect in July 2022 that requires people selling a catalytic converter to provide their driver’s license, the license plate of the car used for transport, photo or video of the seller, and their license, among other restrictions.

Dryfe said it’s hard to assess if the law is deterring thieves.

“I don’t want to say that it hasn’t had any effect, because I’m certain that it probably has, I think there are still a number of certain people who are going to go out here and are going to steal catalytic converters anyway. There is a market for them because of the precious metals inside them and there are certain people who are not willing to obey the law. They don’t care that the law changed,” said Dryfe.

Those precious metals the chief is referring to have skyrocketed in value.

Rhodium is selling for $12,400 per ounce. Palladium is selling for $1,748 per ounce and platinum is selling for $1,060 an ounce.

Ukraine has some of the richest supplies of these metals in the entire world. As the war has raged on, there have been metal shortages, the prices have continued to rise and so have catalytic converter thefts.

Joe Genovese is general manager of Arite Used Auto Parts. He said auto recyclers don’t buy catalytic converters anyway. He said lawmakers should be looking at the scrap yards that they are sold to. They are the ones that extract the precious metals.

“They are sold before they are even cut and they know who they are going to sell them to. So you have to find out who that is. Where do these end up in the end. Cause if you can regulate that then you can probably stop the converter thefts. But if you can’t regulate that then it’s just going to continue to happen,” Genovese said.

We are told many of the converters stolen here are sold in New Jersey.

There is talk of new legislation aimed at forcing insurance companies to fully reimburse for stolen catalytic converters, but critics say it will raise rates and do nothing to stop the thefts.

Law aimed at making catalytic converters harder to sell