Indiana legislators address stolen catalytic converters

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INDIANAPOLIS — State Representative Justin Moed (D-Indianapolis) applauds the signing of Senate Enrolled Act 167, which addresses the issue of catalytic converters being stolen and sold for scrap metal. Moed, a co-sponsor of the legislation, is a long-time advocate for efforts to curb metal theft in neighborhoods.

There has been a nationwide increase of stolen catalytic converters, an emissions-control device in cars that can be easily sawed off from the bottom. The device is made of precious metals, including palladium and rhodium, which are worth around $2,500 and $21,900 an ounce, respectively. A stolen converter can cost a car owner $2,000 in repairs.

“This issue is on the rise again in our Indianapolis neighborhoods,” Moed said. “When the catalytic converter is stolen, it leaves residents out thousands of dollars in repairs while the thief goes off scot-free. It’s not just a nuisance or an inconvenience — it’s a safety hazard and unfair expenditure shouldered by the victim.”

In 2013 when Moed was a freshman legislator, he authored the original bill to crack down on stolen scrap metal, including catalytic converters. The bill, which was enacted that summer, required scrapyards to only accept catalytic converters and air conditioner copper coils from a licensed repairman or from a person who can provide proof of ownership.

“We saw an increase of the same criminal activity back in 2013 as we are right now,” Moed said. “This new bill builds on my past legislation, and I will continue to address this issue as long as it continues to plague Indiana neighborhoods.” 

SEA 167 increases the penalty for stealing a catalytic converter to a level 6 felony from a misdemeanor. The bill also cracks down on scrap yards that illegally accept these stolen metals by giving law enforcement the ability to convict a scrap yard operator of a felony for purchasing these stolen catalytic converters.

The governor signed the bill on April 19.

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