Gov. Hochul signs bill to help stop growing catalytic converter thefts
Gov. Kathy Hochul signed a bill into law on Monday to help combat the growing number of catalytic converter thefts over the past year.
The Comprehensive Catalytic Converter Theft bill requires new car dealers to supply a catalytic converter serial number etching kit, starts a statewide database to track the sale and recycling of catalytic converters at scrap yards, and adds heavy fines for noncompliance. The bill also earmarks more than $20 million for local law enforcement to maintain databases and other tech to track thieves.
“We want to let the criminals know that the gig is up,” Hochul said. “This will allow local law enforcement to purchase the technology for this surveillance.”
Both Nassau and Suffolk police say the number of catalytic converter thefts has skyrocketed. In Nassau County this year alone, 1549 catalytic converters have been stolen which is up 248% over last year. In Suffolk, there's been 819 thefts, up 183%. They acknowledged the rare metals inside the devices have become so valuable that thieves are taking them and selling them on the black market for scrap.
“I think it will send a big message to the people who steal these that they shouldn't be, but also to the scrap metal workers that are buying these that they can't be doing it anymore,” added Sen. Anna Kaplan.
The bill does not cover existing cars or used car sales. Hochul acknowledged the etching kits are inexpensive and that everyone should consult their mechanic about getting their catalytic converters etched and added to the database.