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EDITO: Reduce theft of catalytic converters




Thefts of catalytic converters from cars were brought up at the Lee City Council meeting this month. This type of theft has become a national problem because converters can be sawn off vehicles very quickly and are valuable to thieves as they contain precious metals and are easily resold.

Days after the Daily Sentinel’s coverage of Lee’s meeting, we read an op-ed in the Hartford (Conn.) Courant in support of a Connecticut law that could deter converter scammers because new regulations would make more difficult disposal of stolen converters.

Connecticut police reported thefts in many cities, such as when thieves at Windsor Locks stole 26 converters from a plumbing and heating contractor and in Glastonbury, where thefts rose to 56 in less than three full months in 2022, with 14 in total in 2020, according to police data.

The thefts have occurred across the state, causing damage to numerous vehicles — including school buses — and leading to very expensive repairs for motorists, lawmakers say.

The Connecticut bill would crack down on such thefts by tightening the rules for those who may receive or sell the catalytic converters.

The bill would prohibit auto recyclers from receiving a catalytic converter that is not attached to a vehicle. As Chris Keating of The Courant reported: The move is designed to prevent criminals from cutting converters out of cars and taking them to junkyards and recyclers in exchange for money.

The idea sounds promising. So few buy the spare product, why would anyone bother stealing it from someone else?

According to the Connecticut researchers, in reference to scrap metal processors, second-hand dealers, and scrapyard owners and operators, the bill would also establish “record-keeping requirements and other conditions for receiving a catalytic converter.” which is not attached to a vehicle”.

These new record-keeping requirements would be expanded and even require certain transactions to include “a clear photo or video of the seller, the seller’s driver’s license or ID card, and the converter.”

And would anyone want to steal a catalytic converter if they have to have their picture taken when they try to sell it? We think not.

Meanwhile, regarding the local situation, the Lee board urged residents to be on the lookout for suspicious late-hours behavior and to keep their cars parked in well-lit areas. Those who have been robbed are asked to call the Sheriff’s Office non-emergency number at 315-736-0141 or 315-337-3710.




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