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Rise In Catalytic Converter Thefts Prompt Shreveport Council To Pass New Laws

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RISE IN THEFTS - Catalytic converter thefts have been on the rise across the country since the start of the global pandemic. A catalytic converter is part of a vehicle’s exhaust system and is designed to convert hazardous vehicle exhaust into less harmful gasses. To do this, catalytic converters use precious metals like platinum, palladium, or rhodium and their value has increased significantly. So much that auto salvagers will pay anywhere from $50 to $250 per used catalytic converter. Catalytic converter theft is also on the rise in Shreveport and this week the City Council adopted a number of new laws to address this growing problem. Police Chief Wayne Smith appeared before the council session last Tuesday and had this to say before the vote.

"Statewide and federal wide you're fixing to see some stricter laws about this because it's so prevalent across our country, "Smith said. "It is costing our city of Shreveport thousands and thousands of dollars, the thieves stealing catalytic converters, it's costing the taxpayers."

Police Chief Wayne Smith of Shreveport, Louisiana
From File
Police Chief Wayne Smith of Shreveport, Louisiana

Chief Smith said trucks and vans are targeted by thieves as their road clearance makes it easier to get under the vehicles.   The new laws passed by the City Council now make it illegal to own or sell more than one catalytic converter that does not belong to the seller AND also makes it illegal for any person or business without the proper licensing to purchase catalytic converters. Violations carry a $500 fine or 5 days in jail, while subsequent charges would carry a $1,000 fine and 60 days in jail.

GAS THEFTS RISING - Gas prices in Arkansas, Texas, and Louisiana are close to four dollars or more a gallon and fuel thefts are becoming more common. Daniel Armbruster with the American Automobile Association in Dallas, Texas says-- thieves are getting more sophisticated at stealing gas.

 “Thieves are now drilling directly into the fuel tank especially on newer vehicles to steal gasoline and that can be very costly for vehicle owners,” Armbruster said.

Repairing a punctured gas tank can cost the owner $800 to $1,000 or more depending on the vehicle. Armbruster says drivers can protect their vehicles by parking in highly visible, well-lit areas or in a garage.