California passes new law against catalytic converter thieves

Malibu Auto Care Manager Matt Wicksman etches participants’ license plates on their vehicles during the catalytic converter etching event at the Chevron Gas Station on Thursday, May. 26. Photo by Samantha Bravo/TMT.

Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed two new bills that make it harder to steal and sell catalytic converters in California, a crime that is on the rise, mostly because of how valuable the metals are that can be sold as scrap and how quickly they can be stolen. Newsom said the bills are aimed at addressing one of the root causes of catalytic converter theft, with more than 18,026 reported stolen in California alone in 2021. State Farm insurance company reported in mid-2021,catalytic converter theft grew almost 293 percent nationwide during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new laws – Senate Bill 1087, by State Sen. Lena Gonzales (D-Long Beach), and Assembly Bill 1740, by Assembly member Al Muratsuchi (D-Rolling Hills Estates) – will make it illegal to buy the parts from anyone other than licensed auto dismantlers or dealers.