WA House Bill Cracks Down on Catalytic Converter Theft

Feb. 28, 2022

Skyrocketing thefts lead legislators to toughen penalties.

Feb. 28—Lawmakers in Washington state are looking to add stiffer penalties to stop the rash of catalytic converter thefts seen across the state, according to a report by the News Tribune.

House Bill 1815 would make unlawfully buying or selling catalytic converters from removed vehicles punishable by jail time and a $5,000 fine. Unlawful possession of a catalytic converter would be classified as a gross misdemeanor carrying jail time and a $2,000 fine per item.

The crackdown comes as Tacoma Police Department recorded 1,077 catalytic converter thefts in 2021 as compared to 191 in 2020. Other cities and counties also reported higher thefts.

“We all recognize we need to address this problem head-on,” Sen. Jeff Wilson, R-Longview said in a news release. “By enacting tough new laws, we give thieves reason to think twice before they crawl under your car with a Sawzall.”

Provision within the bill include:

  • Scrap yards would be required to verify ownership of purchased catalytic converters and keep purchase records and copies of sellers’ photo IDs. 
  • A 3-day waiting period would be enforced prior to buying a used catalytic converter. 
  • Persons attempting to sell a stolen catalytic converter would go on the state’s “no-buy” database. 
  • Violations of purchasing rules are punishable by a fine of $1,000 per catalytic converter.
  • Licensed auto wreckers would be exempted from possible felony penalties.
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The Ratchet+Wrench staff reporters have a combined two-plus decades of journalism and mechanical repair experience.

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