Is Catalytic Converter Theft About to Become Even More Illegal?
Would it be going too far to say that Shreveport - and perhaps all of Louisiana - is in the midst of a catalytic converter theft epidemic? The emission control device brings quite a price on the street. The device contains substantial amounts of three valuable metals, platinum, palladium and rhodium.
They're Worth How Much?
As a result, junkyards are purchasing catalytic converters - no questions asked - and some online companies will purchase converters sent to them. While the value of a converter vary, depending on the vehicle, some internet sites are offering up to $1,500. This increased value has prompted thieves to steal converters, cutting them out from underneath cars or trucks.
With the number of converter thefts growing, state legislators are looking a proposal that would increase the penalties for those kinds of thefts.
Time to Increase Penalties
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Kirk Talbot and other legislators are hoping to stem that increase and says he's working with law enforcement and DAs across the state on legislation.
Talbot’s proposal specifically highlights catalytic converter theft, making it more difficult for them to be resold. “You know you’re not going to able to go sell that to a scrapyard or sell that to someone one," Talbot says, "It’s going to have to be more legitimized...I think that will definitely help.
“I would allow for the judge to have more discretion to punish them more severely."
Would You Even Know Yours is Gone?
Police say say that thieves can generally remove a catalytic converter from a vehicle in less than 10 minutes, adding that most drivers would be unaware that the device is missing until after they start their car. Even at that point, they say, they may not be aware of exactly what has happened.