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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

...deter criminals.

 

"If somebody illegally obtained the catalytic converter---this is just my opinion, but I doubt that they're going to show identification," said Anderson.

 

And if a seller refuses to show an ID, they can walk away and face no consequences, said Anderson.

 

Boyer agrees. Even with regulation, there will still be an underground market, he said.

 

"That'd be like saying, 'Hey, do you think the sale of drugs in America is ever going to stop since we made harsher drug laws?' Criminals are criminals. There's always going to be somewhere to take something," said Boyer.

 

Still, Anderson said she supports the bill, even with the challenge of enforcement.

 

"Clearly, that's the ideal," said Anderson. "That's why we put up speed signs, so we can discourage speeding and encourage safe driving behavior, right? We can’t be everywhere to enforce that."

 

In the meantime, some mechanics have gotten creative to help vehicle owners protect themselves. Some are welding in bars, brackets and braces like the Cat Shield to cage in their converters. Paul Schechter's mechanic was offering Prius owners $600 cash to swap out their catalytic converter with a less-desirable aftermarket part.

 

Unfortunately, that didn't work for Schechter. 

 

Because his truck is old, Schechter didn't bother with comprehensive coverage so insurance wouldn't cover the repair and he didn't feel like shelling out another $1,000. For now, he's getting around town on his electric bike. But he does see a silver lining to the situation.

 

"It will be a great motivator for me to get an electric vehicle, which doesn't need a catalytic converter," said Schechter. "Just waiting on the (federal) infrastructure bill to come through for that."

 

We thank Wisconsin Public Radio for reprint permission.

 

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