HARTFORD, Conn. — Connecticut lawmakers rose one after another to tell stories on Monday about the recent spike in the number of catalytic converters being stolen in their districts.
The thieves, they said, have been slipping under vehicles, often in the middle of the night, and quickly removing the toxic gas and emissions-reducing devices from engines of school buses, vans used by nonprofit agencies and senior centers, private vehicles, contractors' trucks, and RVs. Bandits are lured by a possible bounty of about $1,000 to $1,500 per converter, which contain precious metals.
“I think I’m not going out on a limb here that not a single member of this chamber has passed maybe a week without hearing multiple reports about the theft of catalytic converters in their district and throughout the state,” said Rep. Maria Horn, D-Salisbury, co-chair of the General Assembly's Public Safety Committee.
“As their value increases, we are hearing increasingly stories of them being sold right in front of your home, from a school bus, from senior transport,” she said. “Some really harrowing stories.”
The legislation cleared the House of Representatives unanimously Monday and how heads to Democratic Gov. Ned Lamont's desk. It attempts to make it more challenging to steal and sell catalytic converters.
In general, the bill prohibits motor vehicle recyclers from accepting a catalytic converter unless it's attached to a vehicle. They're also prevented from selling or transferring the converter unless a stock number is added, and they're required to create a written record of the converters they sell or transfer.
The bill also includes new restrictions and record-keeping rules for scrap metal processors, junk dealers and junk yard owners if they receive a catalytic converters not attached to a vehicle, including documenting the seller's name, address and identity, including with photographs.
It also prohibits anyone other than a recycler or a repair shop from selling more than one unattached converter to a scrap metal processor, junk dealer or junk yard in a day.
If Lamont signs the legislation, it takes effect July 1.
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