Rantz: Astonishing 10,000% increase in catalytic converter theft due to WA Democrat’s law

Jun 20, 2022, 5:30 PM
Kevin Doyle from Mad Hatter Muffler shop works on replacing a catalytic converter on a truck (Getty...
Kevin Doyle from Mad Hatter Muffler shop works on replacing a catalytic converter on a truck (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Catalytic converter theft is up an astonishing 10,000% in Washington state since 2019. You can place the blame almost entirely on a Democrat-passed bill.

The theft of catalytic converters — a device that lessens the toxic pollution caused by car exhaust emission — is relatively quick and easy. Thieves slide under a vehicle, use a battery-powered saw to cut through the exhaust system, and escape. The metals in the equipment can bring in up to $300 when sold to scrap yards.

The entire process can take anywhere from 30 seconds to one minute. And it’s not a violent crime. That means, thanks to a ban on vehicular pursuits pushed through the legislature by Democrats, thieves have little chance of being caught.

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Before COVID, catalytic converter theft was virtually nonexistent.

In 2019, there were only 42 statewide thefts. But when the economy shut down due to ineffective COVID policies, which coincided with a mass exodus of police, catalytic converter theft exploded.

According to a new report by BeenVerified, Washington saw 592 catalytic converter thefts in 2020. By 2021, that number exploded to 4,252. And the trend isn’t slowing down. Washington has already experienced 1,533 theft cases through April. If that rate continues, the state will break another record.

Under recently-passed legislation, vehicular pursuits are banned in almost all circumstances. They can be triggered with reasonable suspicion of DUI, or if officers have probable cause that the driver committed a violent crime, sex crime, or is an escaped prisoner.

Stealing catalytic converters is a property crime, and it couldn’t lead to a pursuit on its own.

‘Emboldened the criminal element’

It should come as no shock that criminals take advantage of laws that enable consequence-free criminal behavior. It was the intent of the law: to dismantle “systems of oppression,” which include police departments and jails.

The Democrat party in Washington is overwhelmed by fringe abolitionists that few will stand up to. Consequently, a host of laws and policies were passed or established that are directly responsible for the crime surge.

“When you tell the criminal element ahead of time that it is against Washington State law to pursue for all property crimes, then it is logical you will see a rise in those same crimes,” Snohomish County Sheriff Adam Fortney told the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. “It is not good law to notify the crooks ahead of time that there will be no effort on the part of law enforcement to pursue and attempt to hold them accountable. The current pursuit limitations from the state legislature have emboldened the criminal element.”

Republican lawmakers tried to address the surge in catalytic theft with a bill by State Senator Jeff Wilson (R-Longview). But it was watered down by Democrats and has, thus far, been ineffective. While it punishes scrap yards that knowingly purchase stolen catalytic converters, it has no teeth.

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show weekday afternoons from 3–6 pm on KTTH 770 AM (HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast here. Follow @JasonRantz on Twitter, InstagramFacebook, and YouTube. Check back frequently for more news and analysis.

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Rantz: Astonishing 10,000% increase in catalytic converter theft due to WA Democrat’s law