U.S. Senator JD Vance (R-OH) in collaboration with Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Mike Braun (R-IN), and Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced the PARTS Act on Monday, to prevent the thefts of catalytic converters by making the highly sought-after auto part traceable.
The PARTS Act, Preventing Auto Recycling Thefts, is a piece of bipartisan legislation that aims to reduce catalytic converter thefts by requiring new vehicles to have the VIN stamped onto the converter, allowing law enforcement officers to link stolen parts to the originating vehicles.
Additionally, it would establish federal criminal penalties for theft, sale, trafficking, or known acquisitions of stolen catalytic converters. The legislation also aims to establish a grant program to enable dealerships, repair facilities, and other eligible parties to stamp VINs onto converters of existing vehicles.
According to Vance, this legislation offers a commonsense solution to the rampant problem of catalytic converter theft.
“In Ohio, our law enforcement community is reporting these crimes at a shocking frequency and small businesses are being forced to incur preventative costs. I’m proud to introduce this bill with my colleagues and provide our law enforcement with some much-needed assistance to get this problem under control,” Vance said.
Vance cited companies and nonprofits that have also suffered financial losses as a result of stolen catalytic converters. Stolen converters can go for up to $350 each on the black market, according to the National Automobile Dealers Association, but replacement costs to vehicle owners can average more than $2,500.
“One thing this legislation does is makes those catalytic converters more traceable so that our cops can catch the bad guys and prevent this stuff from happening in the future,” Vance said.
According to Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, with this proposal, law enforcement would have more powerful tools to be better able to safeguard Ohioans.
“Catalytic converters are easy to steal, tough to track, and hard to replace. This proposal would give law enforcement more effective tools to curb the ridiculous number of converter thefts and better protect Ohioans,” Yost said.
State Representative Bob Young (R-Green) applauded Vance’s leadership on this issue saying that his bill would be a “complimenting effort.”
Young introduced House Bill (HB) 408 in the Ohio House last year which addressed catalytic converter thefts. Young’s bill would require recyclers to get proof of ownership from each seller prior to buying the converters. Those businesses would face a $10,000 to $50,000 fine if they violated the rule.
“It’s clear and proven – the theft of catalytic converters is a rampant problem in our state. We have heard from citizens all across the state of Ohio who have been victimized by this crime. Entire businesses have had to shut down completely due to it. Criminals have been allowed to harm citizens and businesses for far too long. Thus, I am more than glad to partner with him and appreciate him leading the efforts nationally on this crime,” Young said.
According to Klobuchar, the U.S. needs this legislation due to the concerning increase in these thefts.
“Throughout the country, we’ve seen an alarming increase in catalytic converter thefts. These converters can be easily taken from unattended cars but are difficult and expensive for car owners to replace. By making catalytic converter theft a criminal offense and ensuring each converter can be easily tracked, our bipartisan legislation would provide law enforcement officers with the tools and resources they need to crack down on these crimes,” Klobuchar said.
In the U.S., thieves are stealing catalytic converters at increasingly higher rates because they contain costly precious metals such as platinum, palladium, and rhodium and are not easily traceable.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau said individuals reported 14,433 catalytic converter thefts in the U.S. in 2020 compared with 3,389 cases in 2019. In 2018, individuals reported just 1,298 thefts.
In Ohio, more than 14,000 catalytic converters were stolen last year alone and reportedly “catalytic converter thefts (were) among (the) biggest Northeast Ohio crime trends in 2022.”
The legislation has been referred to the Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation for review.
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Hannah Poling is a lead reporter at The Ohio Star and The Star News Network. Follow Hannah on Twitter @HannahPoling1. Email tips to [email protected]
Photo “JD Vance” by JD Vance. Background Photo “Catalytic Converter” by Seth Sawyers. CC BY 2.0.
2 Thoughts to “Ohio U.S. Senator Vance Introduces Bipartisan PARTS Act to Prevent Catalytic Converter Theft”
Since it obvious that current laws against felony theft are not being enforced, introducing another law is little more than grandstanding. Enforce the laws as written now. Lock up offenders. End the catch and release legal system.
JD, Keep working hard, I think this sounds like a very good idea to be involved in.