EDITORIAL: Reducing catalytic converter thefts

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Catalytic converter thefts from cars came up at this month’s Lee Town Board meeting. This type of theft has become a nationwide problem because the converters can be sawed off vehicles very quickly and are valuable to thieves because they contain precious metals and are easily resold.

A few days after Daily Sentinel coverage of the Lee meeting we were reading an editorial in the Hartford (Conn.) Courant in support of a Connecticut law that could dissuade converter crooks because the new regulations would make it tougher to dispose of the stolen converters.

Connecticut police have reported thefts in numerous towns, for example when thieves in Windsor Locks stole 26 converters from a plumbing and heating contractor and in Glastonbury, where thefts increased to 56 in less than three full months in 2022, with 14 total in 2020, according to police data.

These thefts have occurred across the state, causing damage to numerous vehicles — including school buses — and have brought very costly repairs to motorists, according to lawmakers.

The Connecticut bill would crack down on these thefts by tightening up on the rules for those who might receive or deal in the catalytic converters.

The bill would prohibit motor vehicle recyclers from receiving a catalytic converter that is not attached to a vehicle. As The Courant’s Chris Keating reported: That move is designed to stop criminals from cutting converters off cars and bringing them to junkyards and recyclers in return for cash.

The idea sounds promising. If few will buy the detached product, why would anyone bother to steal it from someone else?

According to the Connecticut researchers, in reference to scrap metal processors, junk dealers, and junk yard owners and operators, the bill also would establish “recordkeeping requirements and other conditions for receiving a catalytic converter that is not attached to a vehicle.”

These new record-keeping requirements would be extensive and would even require certain transactions to include “a clear photograph or video of the seller, the seller’s driver’s license or identity card, and the converter.”

And would anyone want to steal a catalytic converter if they have to have their photo taken when they try to sell it? We think not.

Meanwhile, regarding the local situation, the Lee board urged residents to be on the lookout for suspicious behavior at late hours and to keep their cars parked in well-lit areas. Those who have been victims of theft are urged to call the Sheriff’s Office non-emergency number at 315-736-0141 or 315-337-3710.

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