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Politics

New law will increase punishment for catalytic converter thefts in Oklahoma

Stolen Catalytic Converter
(Photo Provided by Aaron Bolerjack)
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Underneath the vehicle, a catalytic converter has been stolen.

Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt signed a bill on Wednesday that would increase punishments for those found stealing catalytic converters.

House Bill 4373, authored by Representative Ross Ford (R-Broken Arrow), includes catalytic converter theft as a third-degree burglary crime, with a fine up to $5,000.

"As a former police officer, I've seen the hardship caused by the theft of catalytic converters and other vehicle parts and how such crimes are on the rise," Ford said. "With months-long delays in getting replacement parts, these thefts come at great expense and can be debilitating to law-abiding vehicle owners."

This bill wasn't the only piece of legislation this session to target this kind of theft. Another bill authored by Representative Lonnie Sims (R-Jenks) would have made the crime a felony, but the bill missed key committee hearings in March to propel it forward.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau found catalytic converters are stolen at an alarming rate, having quadrupled nationally between 2019 and 2020. The converters are targeted for their precious metals.

The new law takes effect Nov. 1.

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