fbpx
Wednesday, 13 October 2021 20:55

Increase in Catalytic Converter Theft Leads to New Legislation in Wisconsin

Written by Diane Bezucha, Wisconsin Public Radio
A heat shield lies on the ground after thieves stole the catalytic converter from Madison resident Paul Schechter's truck in August.  A heat shield lies on the ground after thieves stole the catalytic converter from Madison resident Paul Schechter's truck in August.  Photo courtesy of Paul Schechter

Index

...several for his customers.

 

He said a catalytic converter generally sells for about $75 to $100, but some, like the Toyota Prius and other hybrid vehicles, sell for as much as $1,500 because they contain more of the precious metals.

 

For car owners, it costs anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000 to replace a stolen converter and insurance doesn't always cover it, Schmiedlin said, adding that he thinks the new law is a good idea.

 

The bill has bipartisan support and is likely to pass a floor vote in both chambers, which means it could be heading to Gov. Tony Evers' desk soon.

 

But some worry the new law could create a mountain of paperwork for business owners and would be difficult to enforce.

 

Scrap dealer and auto shop owner George Boyer said the new law places the burden on small businesses. Boyer said his shop, American Auto Madison, scraps nearly 4,000 cars a year.

 

"I've had 1,000 converters in my possession before, you know, I might have 30 right now," said Boyer. "How to prove where they ever come from is going to be nearly impossible."

 

Boyer holds a salvage dealer license from the state Department of Transportation and said he documents every sale but tracking individual parts is tough.

 

"You're never going to be able to make any salvage person document every converter. It's just not realistic," said Boyer.

 

He recommends making sure anyone buying a catalytic converter has a proper salvage license.

 

But even with licensed scrap dealers, theft is still happening. Lorie Anderson, of the Madison Police Department, said rules don't always...