Action on curbing catalytic converter thefts is ‘well past due,’ says state lawmaker

Dec 14, 2021, 11:04 AM
Toyota Prius, catalytic converter theft...
Catalytic converters are often taken from Toyota Priuses. (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

With catalytic converter thefts continuing to cause issues for drivers across Washington, one state lawmaker is hoping his newly-proposed legislation will garner enough bipartisan support to finally provide a solution.

State lawmaker floats proposal to curb recent rise in catalytic converter thefts

The bill comes from Republican State Sen. Jeff Wilson, who hopes to enact strict rules for catalytic converter sales and charges for scrap dealers who knowingly purchase or accept stolen ones. As a problem dating back years, he believes it’s time to act.

“The bill does something that’s well past due,” Sen. Wilson told Seattle’s Morning News. “… For those dealers that are not behaving properly, this is a clear message that it’s no longer going to be tolerated — no more ‘no questions asked.'”

A recent report found that catalytic converter thefts in Longview have skyrocketed in 2021, with 58 reported incidents through September, up from nine total cases in 2020, and just three in 2019. Incidents have been on the rise in Everett, Seattle, and other parts of Western Washington as well.

Attempts to provide more up-to-date data, though, have proved difficult, Wilson notes, largely because “you just keep picking a bigger number.”

“Quite frankly, when you think it’s nine converters stolen a day in the Seattle area, that’s going to change, and in fact, is changing — it’s a number that gets bigger,” he pointed out. “We’re talking tens of thousands of converters in the state of Washington, where we have seven-plus million vehicles.”

Thieves are stealing Prius parts from parked cars in Puget Sound region (again)

Catalytic converter theft is also something that can have a devastating, cascading effect on working class Washingtonians, often costing up to $4,000 for a replacement.

“Although this crime may appear to be petty, I’ll offer up that it is not even close to being petty,” Wilson said. “This is an inconvenience on a lot of hard-working Washington families that wake up in the morning and their car or truck makes a horrific noise, and their obligation may be to get to work that day.”

Moving forward, Wilson says he already has support for the bill from “both sides of the aisle” ahead of the 2022 legislative session kicking off next month, as an issue he believes everyone can agree on.

“I have never seen a red or blue catalytic converter,” he joked. “That just simply doesn’t exist.”

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Action on curbing catalytic converter thefts is ‘well past due,’ says state lawmaker