Proposal goals to thwart catalytic converter theft in Albuquerque

Proposal goals to thwart catalytic converter theft in Albuquerque
Proposal goals to thwart catalytic converter theft in Albuquerque
About 1,300 catalytic converters had been reported stolen in Albuquerque in 2022, in keeping with Metropolis Councilor Renee Grout, who has launched laws aimed toward making it more durable for thieves to promote them to scrap steel sellers. Her proposal would require sellers to gather and preserve {a photograph} and different figuring out details about everybody who sells them a secondhand catalytic converter. (Roberto E. Rosales/Journal)

Because the proprietor of an automotive restore store, Renee Grout has a front-row seat to the catalytic converter theft epidemic.

Not less than as soon as a month, a buyer arrives needing the pricey restore work achieved after somebody stole it proper out from underneath them — against the law that takes simply minutes to commit. She recollects as soon as serving a Toyota Prius proprietor whose automotive required a $3,200 repair as a result of thieves didn’t simply take the catalytic converter but in addition severed important hoses through the extraction.

“These aren’t the kind of repairs I prefer to make for patrons,” Grout stated, noting that catalytic converter substitute payments can run the gamut relying on the automobile and different components, and that $3,200 is on the upper finish however not the costliest she’s heard about. “It makes me unhappy.”

As an Albuquerque metropolis councilor, Grout is attempting to curtail the thefts with a brand new proposal slated for vote throughout Wednesday’s assembly. Below her laws, scrap steel processors — who purchase the coveted automotive components secondhand as a result of they comprise treasured metals — must preserve detailed data about every one who sells them a used catalytic converter. It additionally requires that sellers enable police inside their retailers to examine secondhand converter stock and associated transaction paperwork.

“The aim of the ordinance is to discourage these thefts and the harm they trigger and shield secondhand steel sellers from unknowingly taking part on this crime,” Grout stated.

The New Mexico Legislature is at the moment weighing the same regulation on the state stage. The laws handed the Senate on a 34-0 vote earlier this month and has been despatched to a Home committee.

Catalytic converters — which assist scale back dangerous automotive emissions — are an more and more well-liked goal for thieves, as they comprise useful palladium, platinum and rhodium.

Albuquerque had 1,300 of them reported stolen in 2022, Councilor Grout stated.

Insurance coverage claims for stolen converters have soared across the nation; the Nationwide Insurance coverage Crime Bureau reported a 1,215% enhance in such claims between 2019 to 2022 — and, Grout famous, many individuals change them with out bothering to file an insurance coverage declare to keep away from fee will increase.

Earlier this month, media reported on a very high-profile incident involving Oscar Mayer’s famed Wienermobile, which was struck whereas parked at a Las Vegas, Nevada, resort.

Below Grout’s proposal, scrap steel sellers in Albuquerque who buy a secondhand converter must get and preserve the next data from the individual promoting it:

  • A full-face {photograph}
  • Identify, deal with, and date of delivery from a government-issued ID
  • A thumbprint
  • The yr, make, mannequin and VIN variety of the automotive from which the catalytic converter got here
  • A replica of the automotive’s title or different documentation proving the vendor owns the automobile

Ordinance violations could be misdemeanors topic to a advantageous of as much as $500 and as much as 90 days in jail, and the laws permits the town to additionally pursue penalties underneath the state’s “chop store” regulation.

Grout stated if it passes, she hopes to in the future amend it to additionally require that sellers proactively report secondhand catalytic converter purchases on to APD relatively than simply preserve a report e book. She stated the laws at the moment transferring by way of the Legislature would allow the town to try this.

Journal makes an attempt to succeed in a number of scrap steel sellers in Albuquerque had been unsuccessful Monday, however Grout stated some participated in drafting the laws.

“I’ve been coping with this (subject) for a very long time,” Grout stated. “After I bought elected (in 2021), I had a lot of individuals inform me ‘My cat bought stolen. Do one thing.’”