New law to crack down on catalytic converter thefts now in effect

New catalytic converter law takes effect

New catalytic converter law takes effect

A new law designed to deter catalytic converter thefts took effect Tuesday after lawmakers passed a slate of reforms this year to slow a growing crime wave impacting car owners across Minnesota. 

Starting Aug. 1, all detached catalytic converters must be marked with vehicle identification numbers. Those caught with unmarked parts could face misdemeanor or felony charges.

5 INVESTIGATES previously reported that Minnesota was among the top five states for catalytic converter thefts. The part contains precious metals such as platinum, palladium and rhodium — some of which sell for more than $1,000 an ounce.

Industry experts attributed the high rate of thefts in Minnesota to a loophole in state law that did not require scrap yards to catalog their transactions.

The new law also requires scrap yards to begin reporting the purchase of vehicles and catalytic converters to a new online database starting in August 2024.

Lawmakers added that requirement after 5 INVESTIGATES revealed previous plans to create a database were scrapped in 2015 under pressure from the metal recycling industry.

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) said on Tuesday that it expects to start seeking bids from vendors to create the database soon. 

A spokesperson added that the BCA is also working with scrap dealers to answer questions about the new law and help businesses ‘maintain compliance’ until the new database is ready next year.