State Lawmakers Advance Bill Targeting Catalytic Converter Thieves – NBC Connecticut

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The bad guys haven’t let up since our article on theft of catalytic converters. Numerous cases continue to be reported to the NBC Connecticut newsroom.

Help may be on the way, with a key bill awaiting the governor’s signature.

Meanwhile, the frustration continued for vehicle owners.

Dave Greco of North Haven said he had just been the victim of a catalytic converter theft.

“It’s just an unexpected expense that I didn’t plan on having, to be honest,” Greco said.

NBC Connecticut Investigates recently explained why thieves are targeting catalytic converters used to clean your exhaust.

Inside the catalytic converter are precious metals that fetch top dollar. Thieves can get several hundred dollars for just one.

State lawmakers recently gathered public comment on a bill tightening rules surrounding sales of catalytic converters to auto recyclers, scrap recyclers, junkyards and scrap dealers.

Among the supporters of Senate Bill 256 is the Insurance Association of Connecticut, whose members have witnessed a spike in claims for stolen catalytic converters.

Association president Eric George argued “…making the process less attractive, less easy to have money in their pocket, should lower the rate.”

George released a statement to NBC Connecticut Investigates:

“The theft of catalytic converters has become both a major public safety issue and a heavy burden on the insurance industry in Connecticut, which is why our industry applauds the swift action of the Senate and State House in passing legislation (Senate Bill 256) which should limit this problem and facilitate the repression of thefts. By significantly tightening regulations around the sale of catalytic converters to scrap yards, this should help reduce both the number of thefts and the number of claims filed with insurance companies, which benefits everyone.

The main provision of the bill was to deter thieves from thinking that stealing and selling catalytic converters is a quick and easy way to get money.

The bill provides that junk and junk dealers receive only one loose catalytic converter per day from a seller. Payment must be a check mailed to the seller’s address or the seller must wait three days to collect it.

Auto recyclers have criticized the bill’s provisions, calling for more documentation to trace sales.

“Twice a month, every recycler must file not only with the state of Connecticut, but also with the federal government, about the cars we buy and what we do with those cars. Having a third check is highly unnecessary,” said Joe Genovese of A-Rite Used Auto Parts.

In the end, the public safety committee agreed to eliminate the new documentation for auto recyclers. Scrap recyclers, dumps and junk dealers will have more paperwork.

The governor’s office told us it and its staff would first carefully review this bill, but said it was not immediately aware of any concerns.

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