B.C. government looking to deter catalytic converter thefts

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The provincial government has made regulatory changes in hopes of deterring catalytic converter thefts.

Registered metal dealers will be required to report each transaction involving a catalytic converter not attached to an exhaust system, including information about the seller, to police on the day of sale, according to a media release by the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General. 

The change is a result of an amendment made to the Metal Dealers and Recyclers Regulation (MDRR).

“We are changing the rules to better fight thieves who steal catalytic converters,” said Mike Farnworth, minister of public safety and solicitor general. “These thefts create costs and consequences to the livelihoods of British Columbians and this change reduces the incentive to steal them in the first place.”

Catalytic converters previously could be sold to metal dealers without providing information about the seller, allowing them to remain anonymous. The updates to the MDRR, proposed by stakeholders such as the BC Association of Police Boards, will support police in locating illicit sellers and stolen items and disrupting the distribution of stolen items.

“The theft of catalytic converters is a serious problem and we are happy to have consulted with the province to help curb this illegal activity,” said Charla Huber, president, BC Association of Police Boards. “We are pleased that the Metal Dealers and Recyclers Regulation has been amended to include catalytic converters where they are detached from an exhaust system. We believe this provides police with an important tool to close the channel on those who steal and resell these items.”

A catalytic converter is an exhaust emission control device that reduces pollutants in exhaust. They contain precious metals and have been a target for thefts due to the increase in the prices of those metals, according to the province.

ICBC claims for catalytic converter thefts in B.C. climbed from 89 in 2017 to 1,953 in 2021. Claim costs for catalytic converters during the same time increased from $356,950 to $4,059,081.

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