Gov. Gavin Newsom has signed two new bills that make it harder to steal and sell catalytic converters in California, a crime that is on the rise, mostly because of how valuable the precious metals are that can be sold as scrap and how quickly they can be stolen.
The new laws - Senate Bill 1087, by State Sen. Lena Gonzales (D-Long Beach), and Assembly Bill 1740, by Assembly member Al Muratsuchi (D-Rolling Hills Estates) - will make it illegal to buy the parts from anyone other than licensed auto dismantlers or dealers.
Depending on the load of precious metals in each catalytic converter, authorities say thieves can make hundreds of dollars selling them at recycling facilities.
Under the new laws, scrap metal recyclers and junk dealers will be required to keep detailed records of the sales.
In a video statement on Twitter, Newsom said the bills are aimed at addressing one of the root causes of catalytic converter theft.
"That's those brokers and those middlemen, who pay top dollar for stolen parts... You take away the market for stolen goods, you can help cut down on stealing. It's not much more complicated than that," he said.
According to estimates by BeenVerified using National Insurance Crime Bureau and Google search data, the number of monthly catalytic converter thefts in California were 14 times that of 2019.