New law cracks down on catalytic converter theft in East Texas
LUFKIN, Texas (KTRE) - Before this legislative session, stealing, buying or selling stolen catalytic converters was a felony, but Senate Bill 224 will make it a crime just to have one in your possession.
Having a stolen catalytic converter in your possession can now result in a state jail sentence of from six months to two years, with a maximum $10,000 fine.
Owner of Texas Muffler and Automotive Josh Peterson said almost every week he replaces catalytic converters for drivers who have had theirs stolen.
“Most of the catalytic converter repairs that we do are because they’ve been stolen,” Peterson said. “Sometimes, they’ll cut a fuel line or another wiring harness that’s adjacent to the converter whenever they’re making these cuts, and it causes a lot of extra cost just in addition to the converter itself.”
Peterson said criminals are able to quickly use a saw to cut the converter out from up under your vehicle, costing you anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000 in damage.
Victims may never know a crime has taken place until they start their car and hear something different.
“The victim has no idea until they get in, and…their vehicle’s loud instead of being quiet,” Peterson said.
Angelina County Sheriff Tom Selman said that catalytic converter thefts have been a problem.
“Catalytic converter thefts are a huge problem, and they’re very expensive to replace, so they are a target for thieves, and we do have a lot of theft of catalytic converters from vehicles in our area,” Selman said.
Selman believes this law can offer some relief.
“We do stop people that have catalytic converters in their possession, but we have no way of tracing those back to a vehicle unless there’s just been a recent theft in the area, so the change in the law will help us combat that crime more effectively,” Selman said.
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