Catalytic converter thefts decline five months after Washington law takes effect

SPOKANE, Wash. — The number of catalytic converter thefts is starting to go down in Spokane, and the manager of Action Recycling and Spokane Police says it’s due to a new Washington law that’s making it harder for thieves to sell them.

“We require the title or the registration for the vehicle that the catalytic converter came off of,” said Glen Ahlborn, Manager of Action Recycling in Spokane. “That paperwork has to be in their name, and then we wait three days to pay them, and we always pay by check, just to create a paper trail just in case there is some kind of issue.”

Ahlborn said the new law has drastically cut the number of thieves trying to cash in on the stolen car part.

“The law has done exactly what it was meant to do, it’s told the thieves that it’s not easy anymore, while it may be easy to steal catalytic converters, there’s no place to sell it,” he said.

The law makes it harder for thieves to sell stolen catalytic converters, now they having to prove the piece of the precious metal came from their own vehicle.

Ahlborn said now, he turns people away all the time who aren’t following these rules.

In addition to sales being down, catalytic converter thefts are down as well. Spokane Police say they’ve seen an almost 80% decrease in calls from people reporting these thefts.

“We weren’t getting them daily like before, I mean every day we were getting these calls,” said Officer Jacquelyn Valencia with the Spokane Police Department.

SPD said while thefts are down, they do still happen.

“As much as we’re seeing a decrease we still want people to know this crime is important to us, so please still report it”, Valencia said.

If you do suspect your catalytic converter has been stolen, call Spokane Police and your local scrapyards to see if it’s ended up in the wrong hands.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Scrap metal shops already seeing drop in catalytic converter sales due to new law