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Council Passes Bill to Crack Down on Catalytic Converter Theft

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On Tuesday, November 22nd, 2022, the New York City Council enacted Introduction 525, co-sponsored by Councilman Justin Brannan, which takes aim at catalytic converter theft. The legislation will make it virtually impossible to sell stolen catalytic converters within the five boroughs by implementing strict legal ownership documentation requirements for all sales to scrap metal shops. The incidence of catalytic converter theft has increased across the country as thieves have found the crucial car parts relatively easy to steal and relatively profitable to sell, often with no questions asked at time of transaction.

The bill will require any dealer who purchases a second-hand catalytic converter also obtain and retain documentation that the seller either legally owns the vehicle from which the part was removed or that the removal of the part was otherwise authorized by the vehicle’s legal owner. The seller would also have to prove that the catalytic converter is consistent with one removed from the identified vehicle. Upon receipt, the purchasing dealer would be required to retain these documents for at least 6 years. Councilman Brannan believes these measures will effectively end catalytic converter theft by limiting the profit motive and thereby provide direct relief to his constituents.

“Our cops can’t be everywhere at all times,” said Councilman Justin Brannan. “The only way to put an end to this is by prohibiting the scrap metal dealers from purchasing catalytic converters in the first place. You don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to know if a guy comes in looking to sell 10 catalytic converters that they’re all stolen.”

“When my neighbors park their cars overnight, they deserve the security of knowing their vehicles will run properly and get them where they need to go the next day,” Brannan continued. “They don’t need the lost time and money it takes to replace a necessary part like a catalytic converter. Our neighborhoods in southern Brooklyn remain among the safest in the city, but we have sadly not been immune to the national rise in this particular kind of theft. This bill protects New Yorkers from catalytic converter theft in a way that even someone with the littlest bit of common sense can understand: if you can’t sell it, why steal it?”

Documentation retained by dealers under the new regulations would be kept available for inspection by the police department and the fire department. Dealers who fail to obtain and/or retain documentation could face license suspension or revocation, and sellers found to have submitted false information could be subject to criminal investigation.

Brannan’s bill has passed the Council and is expected to receive the Mayor’s signature and become law.

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