Oklahoma to Make Stealing Catalytic Converters a Felony!
Oklahoma lawmakers are working on new legislation that would make stealing catalytic converters a felony. It's becoming a real problem in the Sooner State as more and more thieves are stealing these expensive parts from parked vehicles. Oklahoma House Bill (HB 3005) has passed the House and will be heading to the full Senate soon for discussion and consideration. If it passes the State Senate it will then go to Governor Kevin Stitt's desk and if signed will be passed into law and take effect on November 1st (11-01-22).
The bill's author Representative Lonnie Sims (R-Jenks) hopes that (HB 3005) will deter thieves and help slow the rampant stealing of catalytic converters in the state. Here's a section of the new bill that outlines the penalties: "Any person who shall receive, transport, or possess in this state one or multiple stolen automotive catalytic converters or the components thereof under such circumstances that the person knew or should have known that the same was stolen shall, upon conviction, be guilty of a felony and shall be punished by imprisonment in the custody of the Department of Corrections for a term of not less than one (1) year nor more than five (5) years, or confined in the county jail for a term of not less than ninety (90) days nor more than two hundred (200) days, or fined not less than One Hundred Dollars ($100.00) nor more than Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00), or by both such fine and imprisonment." Click here to read (HB 3005).
If you've ever had your catalytic converter stolen or know someone who has you know just how expensive it is to replace. So why are thieves stealing them in the first place? Catalytic converters contain palladium, rhodium, and platinum so they're stolen and sold to recyclers for the precious metals they contain. It's illegal in the U.S. to replace a catalytic converter with a used one, so they aren't being stolen or sold to be used as replacement parts. They're being stolen and even bought to be sold to recyclers. Also, the parts are next to impossible to trace since there are no serial numbers or other markings to identify and confirm their origins.
Once taken off there's really no way to prove that a certain catalytic converter went to a certain vehicle. Some converters are worth more than others so certain brands and types of vehicles are targeted due to their high quantities of palladium, rhodium, and platinum. One of the most targeted vehicles is the Toyota Prius Hybrid followed by the Dodge Ram 2500 and Ford F-150 pick-ups. It's crazy that it's become so widespread that Oklahoma legislators have to get involved and increase the criminal penalties in an attempt to discourage would-be thieves. Hopefully, it will work and catalytic converter theft will decrease across the state. I guess we'll have to wait and see. In the meantime protect your vehicle by parking in a garage or well-lit driveway.