STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — A new piece of legislation will hopefully slow the thefts of expensive, highly-sought catalytic converters across New York, say two state lawmakers.
The state Legislature has passed a bill to impose restrictions on the purchase, sale and possession of the automotive device by vehicle dismantlers, scrap processors, and others, according to state Sens. Diane Savino (D-North Shore/South Brooklyn) and fellow Democrat Joseph Addabbo (Queens).
Savino, a co-sponsor of the legislation, told the Advance/SILive that the bill represents a work in progress and that the longterm goal is for national auto manufacturers and car dealers to make sure that catalytic converters are etched and logged in much the same way that airbags are.
After passing the Senate and Assembly, the bill awaits the final approval of Gov. Kathy Hochul.
“This is not just a Staten Island problem,” Savino said. “There has been a 2,000% increase in catalytic converter theft across the states. We’re hoping to convey this bill to Gov. Hochul and make sure that she signs it, and signs it fast.”
“The ease of removing these devices from vehicles and the valuable precious metals used in catalytic converters has made this particular item a prime target for thieves,” Addabbo said, via QNS.com.
Junk yards and scrap processors would be required to keep and file detailed records on the sellers of these devices within 60 days or face increased fines. New motor vehicle dealers and automobile dealers will also be required to stock catalytic converter etching kits for new motor vehicles at a cost that can’t exceed the value of the etching kit, the report went on to say.
These new restrictions and record-keeping requirements for catalytic converters would take effect 180 days after being signed into law, according to the report.
Catalytic converters are exhaust emission control devices that reduce toxic gasses and pollutants in exhaust gas from internal combustion engines into less-toxic pollutants, and are worth more than $300 on the black market as they contain precious metals including platinum, palladium, and rhodium.
Last month, the Staten Island Advance/SILive.com reported several yellow school buses and a taxi had the high-end item stolen.
At the time, the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles warned residents about the recent surge in catalytic converter thefts and established a new initiative to help law enforcement track the stolen parts and deter thefts.
“This legislation, which for me is a direct result of constituent complaints, will ensure law enforcement has the necessary tools to thoroughly investigate the theft of this vital equipment which serves to protect the environment, while also ensuring individuals caught stealing will face appropriate consequences,” state Senator Addabbo went on to say.