‘It’s a problem nationwide’: New proposed Washington house bill aims to stop catalytic converter thefts

SPOKANE, Wash — At least 50 to 100 catalytic converters are stolen every month in Spokane, according to the Spokane Police Department.

A new House bill making its way through the Washington legislature is trying to put an end to it.

If passed, it’ll require scrap yards to verify the person selling the catalytic converter owns the vehicle the converter belongs to.

“We already do extra paperwork from catalytic converter purchasing, versus just run-of-the-mill scrap metal, so it falls in line with what we’re doing already and I think it’s going to be a good thing,” said Glen Ahlborn, the manager at Action Recycling.

Action Recycling purchases catalytic converters for $5 to $1,800.

“Knowing how much it costs to have something replaced and knowing what little bit it’s worth compared to scrap metal prices, it’s a problem nationwide and it’s a problem we need to address and solve,” Ahlborn said.

House Bill 1815 also proposes to give local law enforcement additional resources. The Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs would have to establish a program to directly help local law enforcement target metal theft.

“Certainly getting more data and coming up with a best practice in terms of what can be implemented is a good thing but again, it’s early in the session,” said Spokane Police Cpl. Nick Briggs.  “We don’t exactly know what the bill will look like, if it is passed, so really the tangible benefits just yet to be determined.”

House Bill 1815 is currently in committee.

If you have been a victim of theft, you’re urged to call Crime Check at 509-456-2233.

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