New Nebraska bill to provide possible solution for catalytic converter thefts

The numbers show thefts are three times what they were in 2020.
Catalytic converter thefts are rising in Omaha.
Catalytic converter thefts are rising in Omaha.
Published: Jan. 20, 2023 at 6:29 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - A loud bang from your car could be the first clue you’re a victim of a crime.

Jim Sargent of Ace’s Mufflers in Omaha says that sound is how you know your catalytic converter’s been stolen.

“That’s when they come to visit me like ‘oh yep, you got stolen,’” Sargent said.

Sargent tells 6 News in the past few months he’s been flooded with catalytic converter replacement orders, about ten per week -- requests he rarely got even one year ago.

“So, as they steal more that’s more and more I have to fix and it’s just getting bigger and bigger,” Sargent said.

Numbers from Omaha police back up what Sargent is saying.

1,368 catalytic converters were reported stolen last year. That’s more than triple 2020′s number.

They’re taken because of the valuable metals they hold inside: rhodium and platinum.

State senator John Cavanaugh wants to tackle the problem at the state level. He introduced LB 347A, a bill to better track down buyers of catalytic converters by requiring payment to be sent via mail, checking their IDs, and requiring a fingerprint. The VIN number, vehicle make, model, and year of the catalytic converter will also be required.

“It’s a real problem and hopefully taking this broader approach will help decrease that problem,” Cavanaugh said. “So, when we take a statewide approach it’s going to decrease the market and decrease the market of catalytic converters people are stealing.”

The legislation would also increase the penalty, stating all violations could lead to up to a year in jail.