Connecticut Clamps Down on Catalytic Converter Sales

By: - May 20, 2022 12:00 am

Assistant Manager Sam Howard replaces a worn-out catalytic converter at Master Muffler in Murray, Utah, in January. Catalytic converter thefts are spiking across the country. Francisco Kjolseth/The Salt Lake Tribune via The Associated Press

Connecticut Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont has signed into law a measure that cracks down on the sale of stolen catalytic converters.

The law, which takes effect July 1, will enact several requirements for scrap metal processors, junk yard owners and others who receive and sell catalytic converters. It focuses on deterring criminals from selling stolen devices.

The new law makes it illegal for motor vehicle recyclers to receive a catalytic converter unless it is physically attached to a vehicle. It also creates new requirements to help police more easily track down who is selling stolen parts.

“Cracking down on the theft and vandalism of motor vehicles requires a multifaceted approach, and one of those tactics includes making it more difficult for criminals to profit from the sale of stolen parts,” Lamont said in a news release.

Catalytic converters are devices mounted near a vehicle’s tailpipe that change environmentally hazardous engine exhaust into less harmful gases. They contain precious metals and have been the targets of a rash of thefts in recent years.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of catalytic converter thefts has skyrocketed, driven by high unemployment, more cars sitting in driveways and a spike in the value of the metals used to make the devices: platinum, palladium and rhodium.

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Jenni Bergal

Jenni Bergal covers transportation, infrastructure and cybersecurity for Stateline. She has been a reporter at Kaiser and the Center for Public Integrity.