The National Insurance Crime Bureau said there were 14,433 catalytic converter thefts reported in the U.S. in 2020 — the last year figures were available — compared with 3,389 theft cases in 2019. In 2018, there were just 1,298 thefts reported.
Stolen converters can go for anywhere between $20 and $350 each on the black market, the groups told the lawmakers, but can cost vehicle owners as much as $2,500 to replace.
“Catalytic converter theft is a major concern for dealers nationwide,” NADA CEO Mike Stanton said in a statement. “The PART Act would help deter catalytic converter thefts that are impacting dealerships, fleet businesses and consumers alike.”
The PART Act was introduced in January by Rep. Jim Baird, R-Ind. The bill aims to reduce catalytic converter thefts by requiring new vehicles to have a VIN number stamped onto the converter, allowing law enforcement officers to link stolen parts to the originating vehicles.
The bill also would create a grant program to allow dealers, repair shops and other eligible parties to stamp VIN numbers onto converters of existing vehicles.
As of Tuesday, at least eight House Republicans and three Democrats support the bill.