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Prosecutors back Ohio bill aimed at catalytic converter theft

A catalytic converter.
A catalytic converter.(Liseth Pando/CBS7)
Published: Sep. 9, 2021 at 7:12 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 9, 2021 at 7:13 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Prosecutors are putting their weight behind a new bill to stop catalytic converter thefts across the state.

“We’ve had 500 catalytic converters stolen in the past year,” Summit County Community Outreach Prosecutor Tania Nemer said Thursday.

The proposed House Bill 408, introduced last Thursday by Republican State Representative Bob Young, would make it a crime to sell a catalytic converter without proof of ownership. The bill would amend state law 2913.71 to include the coveted part.

“Especially knowing they’re going to be tracked, it’ll be a lot more difficult to take these items from cars,” Nemer said.

Catalytic converter theft has surged over the past few months. The valuable car part is typically pulled from cars; its precious metals can be sold for as much as $800.

Tim and Vanessa Kirk are co-owners of One Stop Auto Repair, an auto repair shop in downtown Cleveland. They’ve also noticed a sharp rise in thefts and say the bill is a good first step.

“Anything that would help crackdown on the theft of catalytic converters would be helpful,” Vanessa said.

They wish to see more steps to prevent the crime in the first place, however, which includes deterrence.

“More patrol downtown,” Tim said. “We barely see any cop cars at night.”

They would also wish to see more laws to keep buyers in check, as well, making sure they do not buy more converters than necessary. “I think it’s from the top down,” Vanessa said. “You could pass all the laws, but you have to also make sure people are abiding by them.”

The bill is still in its early stages, and there is no timetable for when it could be presented in Columbus. As legislators continue to develop ways to stop the thefts, Tim and Vanessa look forward to a day they do not have to fear an unexpected visitor.

“When you leave your job, you’re supposed to go home and relax, but you can’t when you have to worry about someone being in your parking lot,” Vanessa said.

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