Catalytic Converter Theft Continues to Rise in Minnesota

Senator Marty will reintroduce legislation to prevent scrap metal dealers from buying catalytic converters from thieves

Earlier this year, Senator John Marty (DFL-Roseville) introduced legislation to strike back against the theft of catalytic converters from cars and light trucks. Marty’s legislation would attempt to break the fencing operations where scrap metal dealers buy multiple catalytic converters from thieves.

Senator Marty’s legislation came after an uptick in catalytic converter thefts. In St. Paul there was an average of almost one converter theft per day in 2019, up eight-fold since 2014. Since then, cities across Minnesota have reported a further spike in these thefts.

“Unfortunately, the rise in catalytic converter thefts continues, and we need to step in to stop this lucrative crime,” Senator Marty said. “I am hearing from a growing number of constituents and legislative colleagues who are reporting problems with theft.”

Marty said that while he was denied a hearing on his bill last session, he intends to push stronger legislation in the new session in January. Among the approaches under consideration, scrap metal dealers would be largely prohibited from buying catalytic converters from anyone other than bona fide auto repair or auto recycling businesses. Other sellers would be limited to selling only the catalytic converters for one vehicle, and only after providing proof of their ownership of the vehicle. By requiring a clear paper trail of the converters and identification of the seller, it will be significantly easier to track the stolen property and stop the thefts.

“It’s time that we step in to protect people from this highly profitable crime. We need to act promptly during the 2021 session in January,” Marty said.

Background on converter thefts:

Thieves can saw off a catalytic converter from a car in about two minutes, according to Edmunds.com, making theft possible even in broad daylight. Scrap metal dealers will buy most catalytic converters for $100 – $200, with some bringing in double that, making it highly profitable for thieves.

For the victim of the theft, the installation of a replacement converter will usually cost $1000 or more, occasionally as much as $4000.

Senator John Marty
John Marty represents Roseville, Lauderdale, Falcon Heights and northern St. Paul.

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