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Monday, March 27, 2023

St. Paul tightens the regulation against theft of catalytic converters and calls on the state to do the same.

In an effort to end catalytic converter theft and urging state legislators to follow suit, the Saint Paul City Council on Wednesday approved an amendment to the ordinance making it an offense to carry a converter without proof of ownership.

“I fully support this,” said Saint Paul City Councilman Chris Tolbert. “I have spoken to many voters who not only had their catalytic converter stolen, but multiple times. This underscores the need for government action… This is not just a St. Paul problem. This is a problem that the entire metro area is now facing.”

St. Paul police said that without such a law on the books, they cannot charge suspects with theft, even when they pull over a driver who has multiple transducers and sawing equipment. This is because it is difficult to trace materials to a specific victim, and suspects may simply claim to be transporting goods for a friend or family member.

Theft has skyrocketed as supply chain shortages increase demand for precious metals in converters that help cut vehicle emissions.

Last year, the St. Paul police registered 1,855 catalytic converter thefts through mid-December, or more than five thefts a day. That’s a total loss of roughly $3 million, five times the 345 reported thefts in 2019.

The council voted 6–0 to approve a new city ordinance that expands on the city’s May 2020 ordinance that made selling or buying individual catalytic converters by unlicensed dealers a crime-level offense. Auto repair shops are being vacated. Council member Dai Tao was absent on Wednesday.

“There is no reason anyone would ever own a disconnected catalytic converter, especially one that was sawn off with a Sawzall,” Saint Paul City Council President Amy Brandmoen said Wednesday. “Parks and urban facilities, as well as car dealerships, were affected. We need government help to look at this more globally and help us stop market demand.”

World Nation News Desk
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