Baird Leads Bipartisan, Bicameral bill to address costly catalytic converter thefts
Washington, January 31, 2023
Washington, D.C.— Today, Congressman Jim Baird (IN-04) re-introduced the Preventing Auto Recycling Thefts (PART) Act, which aims to reduce catalytic converter thefts by marking identifying information on catalytic converters, addressing how the parts are purchased, and strengthening enforceability of catalytic converter theft for local law enforcement.
“Across the country, millions of Americans are faced with costly repairs to their vehicles thanks to skyrocketing rates of catalytic converter thefts,” said Congressman Baird. “Last Congress, I was proud to introduce the PART Act because I recognized the impactful financial consequences these all-too-common thefts have had on Americans and business owners, and I want to empower our law enforcement to hold these thieves accountable. It’s time to close loopholes in our legal system that allow thieves to easily steal this required car part, and I’m excited to work with Congresswoman McCollum, Congresswoman Craig, and Senator Klobuchar to re-introduce this bill to deliver a common-sense solution to this very serious problem.”
“Theft of catalytic converters continues to be a growing and costly problem, leaving victims on the hook to pay to replace them,” said Congresswoman McCollum. “I’m pleased to join my colleague Rep. Baird in reintroducing the PART Act in the 118th Congress. By working collaboratively with our auto dealers and law enforcement, we can help prevent this crime by closing loopholes to make it a criminal offense and providing tools for investigators to link stolen catalytic converters to the vehicles from which they were stolen. I look forward to working with them and my colleagues in the House to pass the PART Act.”
“Catalytic converter and auto thefts are on the rise in Minnesota and our local law enforcement need more support to get this under control,” said Congresswoman Craig. “That’s why I’m working to pass the bipartisan Preventing Auto Recycling Theft Act, so Minnesota law enforcement can more effectively combat these crimes and help keep our communities safe. I’ll keep reaching across the aisle to get this important bill across the finish line and improve public safety in the Second District.”
“Throughout the country, we’ve seen an alarming increase in catalytic converter thefts. These converters can be easily taken from unattended cars but are difficult and expensive for car owners to replace,” said Senator Klobuchar. “By making catalytic converter theft a criminal offense and ensuring each converter can be easily tracked, our bipartisan legislation would provide law enforcement officers with the tools and resources they need to crack down on these crimes.”
Catalytic converters are car parts used to reduce the potency of toxic emissions from an internal combustion engine and is a component required in compliance with the Clean Air Act. These parts are constructed using precious metals such as rhodium, platinum, and palladium, and, depending on the price point for these metals, can be sold to scrap dealers for hundreds of dollars. Replacement of these parts can be very costly for vehicle owners, with many replacements ranging from $500 to $2,300. In some cases, the cost of a catalytic converter theft may even be enough for a total loss to a vehicle.
The theft of catalytic converters has become increasingly prevalent in the past two years, plaguing vehicle owners, scrap yards, and law enforcement officials in communities across the United States. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the number of reported catalytic converter thefts rose from 3,389 in 2019 to 14,433 in 2020 – an increase of over 325%. Faced with this sharp increase, law enforcement officers have limited tools to curb thefts as current policy leaves many advantageous loopholes for criminals to exploit. A lack of criminal code in regard to the trafficking of these stolen parts means that law enforcement must catch a criminal in the act of removing the part in order to prosecute a case.
The PART Act seeks to reduce catalytic converter thefts by allowing law enforcement officers to link stolen parts to the vehicle from which they originate by requiring new vehicles to have a VIN number stamped onto the converter, creating a grant program through which entities can stamp VIN numbers onto catalytic converters of existing vehicles, improving record keeping standards for purchasers of used catalytic converters, and establishing enforceability of laws around catalytic converter theft by codifying these crimes as a criminal offense.