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Georgia strengthens penalties around catalytic converter theft

On Behalf of | Nov 29, 2023 | Criminal Defense |

Thefts of catalytic converters from vehicles have become a growing problem across the country. According to CarFax, last year, approximately 153,000 catalytic converters were reported stolen in the U.S.

Lawmakers are taking steps to make it harder to sell these stolen parts and to increase the penalties for those convicted of these thefts. Earlier this year, Georgia Gov Brian Kemp signed a law that says, in part, that “it shall be illegal for certain persons to purchase, possess, obtain, or sell or attempt to purchase, possess, obtain, or sell used, detached catalytic converters, used utility wire, or used communications copper….”

The law allows police to arrest someone found in possession of a catalytic converter that’s been cut from a vehicle even if the vehicle’s owner hasn’t yet reported the theft. It also doesn’t have to be linked to a specific vehicle.

The stakes are high

The value of a catalytic converter, which is a required part of a vehicle’s exhaust system, varies based on the type of metal they’re made from (generally platinum, palladium, or rhodium) as well as their condition and age. Because of the high stakes involved in stealing a catalytic converter, violence can and often does surround this crime, which, of course, can lead to even more serious charges.

In Texas, for example, an off-duty sheriff’s deputy was killed when he confronted several men attempting to steal his vehicle’s catalytic converter. That state has also increased penalties for the theft as well as possession of stolen catalytic converters

As with many crimes that generally involve more than one person, it can be only too easy to get caught up in something without fully understanding what’s going on. It can also take just seconds for non-violent criminal activity to become violent. If you or a loved one has been charge with a catalytic converter-related crime, it’s crucial to get experienced legal guidance as soon as possible.