In response to the sharp increase in catalytic converter thefts (the exhaust filter is worth more than its weight in gold), US authorities are proposing strict new identification markings.
The US Congress is considering a mandate for vehicle identification markers on catalytic converters, the exhaust filtration system worth more than its weight in gold, following a sharp increase in dishonest thefts of the device.
Auto criminals now crawl under parked cars, in driveways, mall parking lots, and dealership forecourts, to cut up and steal the precious metal-containing core exhaust component.
Catalytic converters are targeted by thieves because they contain precious metals such as rhodium, which is worth approximately eight times more than gold per gram.
Thieves use pipe cutters and power saws to cut exhaust pipes and remove catalytic converters, and car owners don’t realize it until they try to start the car the next day.
Stolen goods are sold to unscrupulous recyclers for cash, and the precious metals are then mined and sold back to refineries.
As reported byUS lawmakers have introduced a bill to the House and Senate that would require catalytic converters in new cars to be stamped with your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), your unique “fingerprint.” 17-digit number that remains on a vehicle for its entire useful life. .
If passed, the bill, known as the Auto Recycling Theft Prevention (PART) Act, would allow law enforcement officers to match a suspicious part to the car from which it was stolen.
automotive news says the proposed legislation could also result in the establishment of a grant program that would provide funding for dealerships and service centers to stamp VINs on the catalytic converters of existing cars.
According to the US National Insurance Crime Bureau, 1,298 catalytic converter thefts were reported in 2018. The organization claimed it received 14,433 reports in 2020, a staggering increase of more than 1,000 percent in just two years.
The theft, sale, and extraction of precious metals from catalytic converters is a multibillion-dollar black market industry in the US, although authorities have recently charged at least 36 criminals for their involvement in unscrupulous activities.
A police operation in the US city of Portland, Oregon, uncovered more than 44,000 catalytic converters stolen from car tailpipes, with an estimated street value of $22 million (A$33 million).
US authorities have dismantled a nationwide criminal network that allegedly made more than $545 million ($814 million Australian dollars) by stealing, selling and extracting the precious metals from catalytic converters.
The rise in catalytic converter thefts also prompted Toyota’s US division to introduce an anti-theft device designed to prevent its Prius hybrid car from being targeted. Most hybrid vehicles have high-tech anti-pollution devices with even more precious metals than the average car.
The new Toyota Prius can be purchased in the US with an optional ‘Cat Shield’, which covers the catalytic converter with an aluminum plate, although the product’s manufacturer, MillerCat, has admitted that the device is “very effective for visual deterrent to thieves than an actual physical deterrent.”