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With catalytic converter thefts on the rise, N.C. passes law for tougher punishment

Bill also requires better documentation by metal recyclers
The law also requires better documentation from metal recyclers.
The law also requires better documentation from metal recyclers.(WBTV File)
Published: Sep. 20, 2021 at 6:30 AM EDT
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The theft of catalytic converters is on the rise across North Carolina.

The repair and replacement of the emissions device is expensive for vehicle owners. Now, the state of North Carolina is making it more expensive for those who are caught stealing the devices.

On Thursday, Sept. 16, 2021, Senate Bill 99 “Clarify Law on Theft of Catalytic Converters” was signed into law by Gov. Roy Cooper.

Senator Thomas McInnis (R-Anson, Moore, Richmond, and Scotland) sponsored the legislation, which makes the theft of a catalytic converter a Class I Felony and imposes a mandatory $1,000 fine.

“Nearly every community in North Carolina is dealing with a rash of catalytic converter thefts,” McInnis said. “Thieves can easily cash in these parts because of the precious metals they contain and often get away with it. This law requires extensive documentation of such purchases, and I believe that Senate Bill 99 will add additional tools to fight theft through increasing the penalties for illegal possession and sale of these converters. I want to send a clear message to criminals that these thefts will not be tolerated.”

According to a press release, the law clarifies that anyone in possession of a catalytic converter could be charged, although exemptions would be made for those who own cars with catalytic converters and those who are licensed or registered as a car dealer or mechanic, as well as salvage yards and secondary metals recyclers.

Senate Bill 99 also requires metal recyclers to maintain copies of documentation the metal recycler relied on to determine a seller was authorized to sell a catalytic converter to the secondary metals recycler.

Besides strengthening the laws for those who would illegally purchase these stolen catalytic converters, this legislation will keep thousands of tons of materials out of landfills.

A catalytic converter is a motor vehicle part that reduces the pollution that an internal combustion engine emits into the atmosphere.

SB 99 is now law and goes into effect Dec. 1, 2021.

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