FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX18) — Thieves who steal catalytic converters know that the metals used in the part are worth a good amount of money. And the price may be going up. Russia currently leads the world when it comes to producing palladium, one of the precious metals found in catalytic converters. So, sanctions on Russia are driving the re-sale value of catalytic converters up. That makes the part even more profitable for thieves.
The theft of this car part is already a prevalent issue in Kentucky. So, state lawmakers hope a bill may help crackdown on the issue before it gets worse.
Senate Bill 114 raises the record-keeping standard for buyers of catalytic converters.
"In other words, the person bringing these things in has to show more documents to sell it in the first place," said Sen. Whitney Westerfield, the bill's primary sponsor.
He adds that the bill also increases the penalties for buyers who don't maintain records like they should be doing.
"It should be super easy to identify who comes in and sells a $2,000 piece of a car that's clearly been cut out of a vehicle," said Westerfield.
Honest buyers tell LEX 18 News that it's not difficult to figure out that someone is trying to sell stolen parts.
One salvage yard owner didn't want to use his name or location because he worries thieves will try to steal the catalytic converter he has legally purchased. But he refuses to purchase catalytic converters that have been removed from vehicles because he knows they're most likely stolen. He explained that normal people don't have access to many catalytic converters, especially ones that have already been removed from vehicles. So, it's easy to spot stolen parts.
"I've got a reason to have two or three hundred converters at a time. You don't. If you've got ten converters, you stole them from somewhere," the salvage yard owner said.