TYSONS, Va. (Nov. 16, 2022)—The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) applauds the introduction of the Preventing Auto Recycling Theft (PART) Act, introduced by Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore). This bill (S. 5024) would assist law enforcement in their efforts to thwart rising catalytic converter theft by providing a national framework that would mark catalytic converters, establish federal criminal penalties, and create a more transparent market that deters its theft.
“Catalytic converter theft is out of control nationwide,” said NADA President and CEO Mike Stanton. “Because converters currently can’t be traced and laws are different from state to state, criminals see catalytic converter theft as easy money. This is a huge issue for dealerships and consumers alike. We thank Senators Klobuchar and Wyden for their leadership on the PART Act which will provide critical tools for law enforcement to help stem the skyrocketing rise of catalytic converter theft.”
Catalytic converter thefts rose 326% in 2020, and another 353% last year. Catalytic converters are easy to steal, but generally very difficult to trace to a specific vehicle, allowing them to be easily sold on the black market. The lack of traceable identifying marks makes the theft of catalytic converters difficult to curb. Stolen catalytic converters can be sold on the black market anywhere from $200 to $350, with the replacement cost to vehicle owners averaging over $2,500.
Thieves are after precious metals that are housed in a catalytic converter, which help reduce harmful emissions from internal combustion engines. The increased value of precious metals in the catalytic converter, such as palladium, rhodium and platinum have led to the exponential increase in these thefts, with no signs of slowing down.
The PART Act requires new vehicles to have unique, traceable identifying numbers stamped on catalytic converters at the time of assembly. Additionally, the bill increases record keeping requirements for purchasers and establishes a federal criminal penalty for the theft, sale, trafficking or known purchase of stolen catalytic converters of up to five years in jail.
“Catalytic converter thefts have skyrocketed nationwide since the pandemic began, and because these are property crimes, there is very little deterrent for the individuals committing these acts,” stated David Glawe, president and chief executive officer of the National Insurance Crime Bureau. “Congress must act to make stealing a catalytic converter a felony and introduce stiffer penalties to deter would-be criminals from committing these acts in the first place. Additionally, law enforcement needs the capability to track illegal sales in the secondary market.”
To date, in addition to NADA, the bill has been endorsed by the American Truck Dealers (ATD), American Trucking Associations (ATA), Automotive Recyclers Association (ARA), National Auto Auction Association (NAAA), National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA), National Independent Automobile Dealers Association (NIADA), National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), National RV Dealers Association (RVDA), National Salvage Vehicle Reporting Program (NSVRP), and NTEA — The Association for the Work Truck Industry.
In May, NADA and 14 other organizations sent a letter to House Energy and Commerce Chairman Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) and Ranking Member Cathy McMorris Rogers (R-Wash.) in support of the House bill, H.R. 6394.
Click here for more information on catalytic converter theft and efforts to mitigate the issue.