Proposed bill in Virginia General Assembly targets catalytic converter black market
SB1135 cleared the Senate and now heads to the House with bipartisan support
RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - At Midas of Richmond on West Broad Street, owner Mark Smith says he’s noticed a decline in the number of people coming in with a very loud problem.
“There were times when we were seeing them every day, so that’s obviously not exact science, but antidotally it sure looks that way,” said Smith.
Smith says the fight against catalytic converter thefts is working. They haven’t seen a single case in about a week.
Richmond Police back that up, saying thefts have dropped a whopping 64% since last fall.
That’s when area police teamed up with Midas to have mechanics spray paint catalytic converters and etch a partial VIN on them.
“We’ve had a great response, an unexpectedly large response to the whole initiative. It’s been well received,” said Smith.
Now a bill in the Virginia General Assembly aims to crimp the market for stolen catalytic converters. SB1135 would make it a felony to buy, sell or offer for a sale a catalytic converter that is separated from a vehicle, unless certain conditions are met.
State Sen. Ryan McDougle’s bill already cleared the Senate and now heads to the House with bipartisan support.
“We came up with what we believe will be a solution to give law enforcement the ability to prosecute these cases and to help ensure that fewer of these losses occur to individuals,” said McDougle, R-4th District.
In Richmond, police say they saw 36 catalytic converter thefts in January, down 20 from the year prior.
“It’s something quick. Someone can slide under your car, use a saw and then cut that device off of your car within 2-5 minutes,” said Capt. Faith Flippo of the Richmond Police Department.
Virginia already has a law on the books that makes it a felony to steal a catalytic converter.
“It is terrible when you come out and you’re ready to go to work and you find that your car is not operable because someone just stole your catalytic converter,” said McDougle.
Midas of Richmond is still offering up the catalytic converter service for free. Give them a call at 804-360-2211 for more information.
Copyright 2023 WWBT. All rights reserved.