Table of Contents
Over the past several years, catalytic converter thefts in Texas have been on the rise. To combat the problem, lawmakers passed legislation in 2021 making it a felony to steal, buy or sell stolen catalytic converters in Texas. In this article, we are going to explain the crime and consequences of catalytic converter theft in Texas and answer some frequently asked questions about this unusual trend.
A catalytic converter is a muffler-shaped device on the underside of a vehicle that helps reduce harmful emissions from a vehicle’s engine. Catalytic converters are required by law on all new vehicles sold in the United States.
Catalytic converters contain precious metals like platinum, palladium, and rhodium, which makes them attractive to people looking to make quick money. After stealing the catalytic converter, they turn around and sell the car part to junkyards, metal recyclers, or on the black market.
The price of the precious metals contained in catalytic converters has increased in recent years in Texas and across the county, which has led to an increase in thefts. Platinum, palladium, and rhodium all sell for hundreds to thousands of dollars per ounce.
Most catalytic converter thefts are committed by someone who slides under a vehicle and cuts off the catalytic converter with a small, battery-operated saw with a metal cutting blade. The process takes minutes. Catalytic converters are often stolen from driveways and apartment parking lots.
Catalytic converter theft in Texas is now a felony offense. In June 2021, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed House Bill 4110, which made it a state jail felony to steal, buy or sell stolen catalytic converters.
A state felony is punishable by six months to two years in a state jail facility and a maximum $10,00 fine. If the defendant has been previously convicted of catalytic converter theft in Texas, they face a third-degree felony, punishable by 2 to 10 years in prison.
Among other things, the new law requires people selling catalytic converters to provide the year, make, model, and vehicle identification number from the vehicle in which the part was removed. It also requires metal recycling facilities to take a thumbprint of the person selling them the catalytic converter and mark each catalytic converter with a unique number. Failure to abide by these regulations could result in a criminal offense.
If you have been charged with catalytic converter theft, it is important to contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible. We can help. Our team has successfully defended thousands of felony cases in Fort Worth and will work diligently to obtain the most favorable outcome possible. Call Varghese Summersett today at 817-203-2220 for a free consultation with a catalytic converter theft lawyer in Fort Worth.