TUCSON,Ariz. (KGUN) — A new law that went into effect this week is making it harder for thieves to steal catalytic converters.
According to Pima County Sheriff's Department from January of 2021 to May of 2022 they had over 190 catalytic converter thefts reported.
"So we had an active case going where a victim had witnessed their catalytic converter be cut off of a vehicle they owned," PCSD Detective Scott Dunaway said. "They attempted to confront the suspects and the suspects ended up assaulting them to get away. We were able to go to a local facility that we knew was buying catalytic converters and when we arrived there we saw that these suspects had arrived there to sell the catalytic converters that they had just stolen."
After serving a warrant he says their burglary unit recovered over a hundred catalytic converters.
Derek Welch, a deputy with that unit, says he's finding these thieves numerous ways, including on social media.
"Previously that was one of the loop holes that anybody with a automotive recycling license was able to buy a catalytic converters from anybody from the street," Welch said. "The new law makes it illegal for anyone to solicit the sale or purchase of catalytic converters unless it's in the course of their business as a recycler."
For criminals who get caught selling stolen goods, they could face jail time.
"Right now it's a class one misdemeanor," Welch said. "That's just the charge, if we dig into the case, once you're arrested and we find out that you were trafficking in stolen property that's a class two felony."
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