Washington senator introduces new bill targeting catalytic converter thefts

Published: Jan. 26, 2022 at 12:22 PM PST
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LONGVIEW, Wash. (KPTV) - A new law that went into effect in Oregon earlier this month is meant to crackdown on the growing crime of catalytic converter thefts, and now a lawmaker in Washington wants to follow Oregon’s lead.

Catalytic converter thefts have skyrocketed in Oregon and Washington, as well as across the country. In Longview, there were nine reported catalytic converter thefts in 2020. In 2021, there were 109 - that’s more than a 1,000 percent increase.

It’s a crime that takes just minutes to commit, but replacing a stolen catalytic converter can cost car owners hundreds even thousands of dollars to replace.

“It was expensive - $3,000,” Jonathan Evans told FOX 12.

Evans had an old Toyota Prius. It was not in great shape, and when the catalytic converter was stolen, he ended up getting rid of the car. He only knows the crime happened sometime in the middle of the night.

“Once we started it, we hear it. That’s what we’re seeing on the news,” said Evans.

Catalytic converter thefts
Catalytic converter thefts(KPTV)

This week, State Senator Jeff Wilson, R-Longview, introduced a bill that, like Oregon’s law, severely limits who can sell used catalytic converters to scrap metal dealers. You’ll have to be either a commercial enterprise or the vehicle’s owner.

The metals these car parts contain are precious and expensive, and that’s why thieves are finding that this crime pays. Sen. Wilson calls the rise of this theft an epidemic across the state of Washington.

“The increase is over 1,300 percent since last year alone,” he said.

With Oregon’s law now on the books, Washington may now become more attractive to thieves.

“Probably not too hard to just drive it over here and sell it, if you got it in Portland,” said Evans.

Another reason why some say Washington also needs to crack down on catalytic converter thefts.