Communities across North Texas are pushing forward with new restrictions to fight the wave of catalytic converter thefts.
Originally reported by WFAA ABC, the city of Addison is the latest North Texas municipality to take steps to reprimand the possession of a stolen catalytic converter.
On Feb. 28, Addison city council passed an ordinance making possession of a removed catalytic converter from a car a Class C misdemeanor. Individuals found guilty of this will face a $500 fine. Each converter possessed is considered a separate offense.
In late 2022, Local Profile reported the city of Frisco also made possession of stolen catalytic converters illegal. Frisco city council passed the related ordinance on Sept. 19.
Catalytic converter theft has become a growing problem in North Texas and across the country.
A catalytic converter is part of the exhaust system in every vehicle, unless electric. It is attached to the muffler and converts pollutant gas to less harmful gasses. These car parts contain platinum palladium and rhodium metals that can be highly lucrative.
On average a catalytic converter contains three-to-four grams of rhodium, which according to experts, can net up to $14,300 per ounce.
According to State Farm, thefts of this nature are rising dramatically. According to the auto insurance agency, between July 2021 and June 2022 catalytic converter theft has grown 109% nationally, in terms of the number of claims filed, compared to the previous 12 months.
During this recent period, more than 43,219 of these parts were stolen and reported by State Farm customers compared to just above 20,600 in the previous 12 months, from July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021.
Texas is second in the country for catalytic converter theft claims. In Addison, thefts increased 157% from 2021 (107) to 2022 (275).
While possessing a catalytic converter is now a misdemeanor in many cities, at the state level, buying, selling or stealing a converter is a felony.
In 2021, Gov. Greg Abbott signed House Bill 4110, making it a state jail felony with a possible jail sentence of six to eight years and a potential fine of up to $10,000. Under the new state law, anyone selling a converter must provide ownership details. A thumbprint of the seller is also collected.
For the new misdemeanor ordinance in Addison, expectations will be made for metal recyclers and those who can prove ownership. To prove ownership of a catalytic converter the police department would require:
- Vehicle identification number (VIN) for the vehicle from which the catalytic converter was removed
- A copy of the certificate of title or other documentation indicating that the person or entity has an ownership interest in such vehicle
- Proof that the catalytic converter was removed from such a vehicle
To avoid catalytic converter theft from your vehicle, State Farm suggests parking inside a garage, in well-lit areas, consider installing an alarm system or engraving your VIN on your converter.