Wednesday, 01 September 2021 22:35

Catalytic coverter theft bill heads to Cooper

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Sen. Tom McInnis was a primary sponsor of a bill tightening the law regarding the theft of catalytic converters. Sen. Tom McInnis was a primary sponsor of a bill tightening the law regarding the theft of catalytic converters. RO file photo

RALEIGH — A bill clarifying the law regarding the theft of catalytic converters is on its way to Gov. Roy Cooper.


Senate Bill 99, sponsored by Sen. Tom McInnis, R-Richmond, was unanimously passed by both chambers of the General Assembly. Other primary sponsors were Sens. Jim Burgin, R-Harnett, and David Craven, R-Randolph.

The legislation makes theft of a catalytic converter a Class I felony and violators are subject to a $1,000 fine.

According to McInnis’ office:

“The law clarifies that anyone in possession of a catalytic converter could be charged, although exemptions would be made for those who own cars with catalytic converters and those who are licensed or registered as a car dealer or mechanic, as well as salvage yards and secondary metals recyclers. Senate Bill 99 also requires metal recyclers to maintain copies of documentation the metal recycler relied on to determine a seller was authorized to sell a catalytic converter to the secondary metals recycler.”

“Nearly every community in North Carolina is dealing with a rash of catalytic converter thefts,” McInnis said in a statement. “Thieves can easily cash in these parts because of the precious metals they contain and often get away with it. This bill sends a clear message to criminals that these thefts will not be tolerated. The bill also strengthens the laws for those who would illegally purchase these stolen catalytic converters."

There were multiple reports during the month of July.

Carter Funeral Home reported to the Rockingham Police Department on July 20 the theft of two catalytic converters from two of its vehicles: a Ford Econoline and a Cadillac Brougham.

One was reported taken off of a 2010 Ford F-250 at Champion Ford on July 17; another was removed from a 1990 Ford F-150 in the parking lot of Derby's Tailory (a box of ratchet straps was also reported stolen) on July 18; and one was reportedly cut off of a Toyota Tundra in the parking lot of Perdue Farms, causing an estimated $500 in damage to the vehicle's exhaust system on July 19.

The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office also investigated several thefts, in addition to a death investigation where the victim was thought to have been trying to steal one when a jack collapsed and the car fell on top of him.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau reports that thefts nearly quadrupled last year, from 652 per month in January 2020 to 2,347 by December. 

According to a May column on Nerdwallet.com, the number one target for catalytic converter theft is the Toyota Prius due to the higher amounts of rhodium, palladium and platinum.

The governor has 10 days to act on the legislation. If he takes no action, it automatically becomes law.