Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed two bills into law Sunday creating more stringent rules for purchasing catalytic converters in response to theft of the devices.
Assembly Bill 1740 and Senate Bill 1087 will require sellers of the valuable anti-smog equipment to prove they own it legitimately. The buyers—often scrap-metal recyclers or dealers—will also have to keep and show records of where they’re getting catalytic converters.
Reports of catalytic converter theft rose 325% percent nationwide between 2019 and 2020, with the value of the devices’ platinum, palladium or rhodium having increased significantly, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
Bills related to catalytic converter theft have been introduced in more than 30 other states, with over a dozen being signed into law.
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Newsom referenced “middlemen who pay top dollar for those stolen parts,” claiming, “We’re going to get to the root causes of this, at least one of the root causes of this crime,” according to KTVU FOX 2.
“You take away the market for stolen goods, you can help cut down on stealing,” he argued, KTLA 75 reported.
Property crime in California increased by 3% between 2020 and 2021, while the state’s violent crime saw a 6.7% rise, according to state data.