Effort to stop catalytic converter thefts in CT passes Senate

Photo of Ken Dixon
A sharp increase in stolen catalytic converters has occurred in recent months because the equipment is easy to steal from under motor vehicles and the air-pollution devices contain precious metals.

A sharp increase in stolen catalytic converters has occurred in recent months because the equipment is easy to steal from under motor vehicles and the air-pollution devices contain precious metals.

Yi-Chin Lee / Staff photographer

HARTFORD — After a quick, 10-minute debate, the state Senate on Friday unanimously approved legislation aimed at preventing stolen catalytic converts from being sold to scrap dealers, metal recyclers and junkyards.

The hope of lawmakers is to stop the increased theft of the air pollution control devices, which contain precious metals and are conveniently located under cars and trucks that can be cut away in seconds.

The bill, which next heads to the House of Representatives, would prohibit dealers from buying catalytic converters that are not part of motor vehicles, and would require dealers, recyclers and junkyards to keep records of identification numbers and receipts.

“This has been an issue that has been plaguing the state of Connecticut and our surrounding states, actually nationally it has become an industry where people’s properties and business properties have been damaged because catalytic converters are very expensive, worth a lot of money,” said Sen. Cathy Osten, D-Sprague, co-chairwoman of the legislative Public Safety Committee. “So what we have done here is attempt to disable the ability of these stolen items to be sold anywhere in Connecticut.”

Sen. Dan Champagne, of Vernon, a top Republican on the committee, said the dealers and recyclers would have to pay more attention to their acquisition and sale of converters, including sales receipts from garages.

kdixon@ctpost.com Twitter: @KenDixonCT