The theft of catalytic converters from vehicles has been on the rise prior to now yr and now the Los Angeles Metropolis Council is proposing new stiffer penalties for thieves, together with a punishment for anybody in possession of a stolen converter.
Catalytic converter thieves might resist $1,000 in fines or as much as six months in jail below a Los Angeles Metropolis Council ordinance. Present penalties for stealing the automotive half embrace petty theft, which may be charged as a misdemeanor, or grand theft, which may be charged as a felony.
Police say it’s troublesome to carry suspected thieves accountable as a result of they can not at all times show that an individual in possession of a stolen automotive half had some position within the theft, in accordance with Los Angeles Metropolis Councilman John Lee who launched a draft ordinance Tuesday with the proposed new regulation.
The catalytic converter, an exhaust emission management gadget sometimes discovered within the undercarriage of a car, comprises treasured metals like rhodium, palladium and platinum. Catalytic converters can promote for anyplace between $300 and $1,200 and price car house owners 1000’s in car repairs, in accordance with Lee’s movement.
The brand new guidelines would require an individual who’s in possession of an unattached catalytic converter to provide documentation proving they’re the lawful proprietor or in possession with the “proprietor’s written consent,” in accordance with the ordinance language. The draft goes on to say, “It isn’t required to show the catalytic converter was stolen to determine the possession isn’t a ‘lawful possession.’”
Lee requested town lawyer’s workplace to draft an ordinance in April. Every catalytic converter present in an individual’s possession can be a separate violation, in accordance with the proposed ordinance language.
Lee mentioned the brand new guidelines would supply an extra instrument to regulation enforcement.
“This crime is hurting our communities, it’s hurting our most weak households on this metropolis,” Lee mentioned as he launched the draft ordinance for a vote.
The council merchandise handed in an 8-4 vote with three members absent and can come again to the council on April 11 for a second and closing studying.
In 2022, there have been roughly 8,000 reported catalytic converter thefts throughout town, up from 972 reported in 2018, in accordance with Lee. The LAPD didn’t instantly reply to requests for information on earlier years. However throughout the nation, authorities say thefts spiked in the course of the pandemic.
Council members Eunisses Hernandez, Marqueece Harris-Dawson, Nithya Raman and Hugo Soto-Martinez voted towards the merchandise on Tuesday. Hernandez was involved about possession of a automotive half resulting in a superb or jail time.
“I’m not in settlement with creating extra alternatives to criminalize our communities,” Hernandez mentioned. “However I do welcome a chance to debate with the LAPD and different stakeholders on how we resolve this concern.”
Councilwoman Monica Rodriguez, who voted for the ordinance, mentioned that autos in low-income communities are sometimes focused by thieves, leaving households with out a car and sacked with the restore prices.
“When these thefts happen they’re left with nothing, with no choices oftentimes,” Rodriguez mentioned. “I do know it’s had an incredible influence on sure neighborhoods in my district and I do know that has been the case throughout town.”