NADA Applauds Reintroduction of Legislation to Combat Catalytic Converter Theft

Published January 31, 2023

TYSONS, Va. (Jan. 31, 2023)—The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) applauds the reintroduction of the Preventing Auto Recycling Theft (PART) Act (S. 154) introduced yesterday by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.) and J.D. Vance (R-Ohio). Representatives Jim Baird (R-Ind.), Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), Angie Craig (D-Minn.), Randy Feenstra (R-Iowa) and Michael Guest (R-Miss.) reintroduced companion legislation (H.R. 621) in the House. 

The PART Act would assist law enforcement in their efforts to combat rising catalytic converter theft by providing a national framework that would mark catalytic converters with an identifying mark traceable to the VIN, establish federal criminal penalties, and create a more transparent market that deters its theft.

“Consumers across the nation are falling victim to rising catalytic converter theft, leaving them with costly repairs that are often worsened by supply chain woes,” said NADA President and CEO Mike Stanton. “America’s franchised auto dealers urge Congress to pass this important legislation.” 

Catalytic converter thefts continue to rise exponentially year-over-year, largely due to skyrocketing prices of palladium, platinum and rhodium, which are the precious metals housed in catalytic converters. Thieves can remove catalytic converters from vehicles in just a few minutes and extract precious metals for resale. Stolen catalytic converters can be sold on the black market anywhere from $200 to $350, with the replacement cost to vehicle owners averaging over $2,500.

The lack of traceable identifying marks makes the theft of catalytic converters difficult to curb as they cannot be linked to the vehicles from which they were stolen. 

“We have seen a dramatic 1,215% increase in catalytic converter thefts nationwide since the pandemic began. It is an issue that is plaguing the United States, and law enforcement needs additional support to put a stop to it,” stated David J. Glawe, president and chief executive officer of the National Insurance Crime Bureau. “There is very little deterrent for thieves who commit these property crimes and, therefore, it is paramount for Congress to take action and make stealing a catalytic converter a felony. Introducing stiffer penalties can deter would-be criminals from committing these acts in the first place. Additionally, law enforcement needs the capability to track illegal sales in the secondary market.”

This crime has also been linked to at least two deaths. In December of 2021 a man in Dallas was shot on his third-floor balcony when he confronted thieves in the parking lot below, and in March 2022, an off-duty Houston sheriff’s deputy was shot and killed when he confronted catalytic converter thieves in a grocery store parking lot. 

The PART Act requires new vehicles have unique, traceable identifying numbers stamped on catalytic converters at the time of assembly, as well as increases record keeping requirements for purchasers and establishes a federal criminal penalty for the theft, sale, trafficking or known purchase of stolen catalytic converters—up to five years of jail time.

The legislation has also been endorsed by the American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA), American Truck Dealers (ATD), American Trucking Associations (ATA), Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA), National Auto Auction Association (NAAA), National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA), National Independent Automobile Dealers Association (NIADA), National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), National RV Dealers Association (RVDA), National Salvage Vehicle Reporting Program (NSVRP), and NTEA, The Association for the Work Truck Industry. 

For more information related to catalytic converter theft, click here.

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