New California law aims to crack down on catalytic converter theft

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) — Lawmakers are trying to crack down on catalytic converter thefts.

Within seconds, the crooks can remove the expensive car part, as seen in several surveillance videos.

RELATED: Video Shows Fresno Catalytic Converter Theft in Under 2 Minutes

They sell it on the black market or resell it to a recycler who can strip it of its precious metals.

But Brunos’ Iron and Metal owner Randy Tosi said that because of all the thefts he felt the need to stop buying them.

“It’s sad, that’s part of the reason why we don’t buy them… We don’t want it to be easy for thieves to get money, and they’re too easy to steal “, he says.

For 58 years, his Fresno County company recycled just about everything, but he stopped buying catalytic converters about a decade ago.

“There’s a lot of money in them and it’s tempting, but…we have pretty high values ​​here,” he says.

Assemblyman Jim Patterson said the theft of catalytic converters has increased 900% in Fresno County from 2020 to 2021.

“It’s a real theft epidemic,” he says.

RELATED: Report Reveals Which Vehicles Are Targeted for Catalytic Converter Thefts

That’s why he introduced AB 1653 – Allow a CHP Task Force to Assist in Catalytic Converter Theft Investigations.

“Anytime we can focus state and local law enforcement resources on a particular set of issues, we’ve really seen results,” Patterson said.

Governor Gavin Newsom has now signed the bill in an attempt to prosecute more crooks.

But law enforcement officials say this law will not stop thefts.

RELATED: What You Can Do to Help Prevent Catalytic Converter Theft

They suggest that to really make things better, the state needs to create a system where car owners place identification numbers on their catalytic converters that match the VIN number and store it in a DMV database.

Currently, if an officer doesn’t catch someone red-handed, they can’t prove the converter was stolen.

“You have to be able to identify the product. There’s no numbers, no labels, there’s nothing on these cats. And you can’t say it’s mine, it’s not There is no case”, explains Randy Tosi.

This new working group will be created in January.

Patterson says no additional funding was needed to create the task force.

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