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Hochul signs legislation to crack down on catalytic converter thefts in New York

catalytic converter
Darren McGee, Office of Governor Kathy Hochul
Governor Kathy Hochul announced new actions to increase interagency vehicle and catalytic converter theft enforcements in high-theft areas by targeting unauthorized and illegal vehicle dismantlers, or "chop shops."

Amid skyrocketing increases in auto part thefts, New York Governor Kathy Hochul signed legislation Monday that targets illegal chop shops that buy and sell stolen catalytic converters.

The law will increase cooperation between police and the Department of Motor Vehicles to track thefts, and funnel tens of millions of dollars to local law enforcement agencies for surveillance technology and license plate readers.

“No one should have to worry about this," Hochul said at the bill signing ceremony in East Farmingdale. "It’s an enormous cost for families. They don't need the stress. They don't need to worry. You shouldn't have to go to bed at night wondering if someone's stealing this valuable commodity out of your own driveway.”

A catalytic converter is a key part of a vehicle's exhaust system, made of rare metals worth thousands of dollars on the black market. Hochul said over 800 converters have been stolen in Suffolk County, up from 289 a year ago.

In addition to the cost of replacing the catalytic converter — between $2,000 and $3,000 — Hochul said thieves usually cause additional damage to the vehicle, adding to the overall cost.

The law also requires dealerships to provide traceable serial numbers that can be etched on to converters so that they’re easier to track, and requires scrap processors to keep detailed records on sellers.

"I was proud to help pass legislation that will crack down on the black market for stolen parts and give our police more tools to catch the criminals responsible for these costly crimes," said state Senator Anna Kaplan (D-Port Washington), a co-sponsor of the bill.

Desiree reports on the lives of military service members, veterans, and their families for WSHU as part of the American Homefront project. Born and raised in Connecticut, she now calls Long Island home.