SC law enforcement hopeful new law will deter catalytic converter thefts


LEXINGTON COUNTY, SC (WSPA) — According to Lexington County deputies, they have received 119 reports of stolen catalytic converters since the start of 2021.

Captain Adam Myrick said that number is keeping pace with the trend they saw at the end of 2020.

Back in March, we told you about a bill moving through the South Carolina State House that supporters said would crack down on thefts.

That bill was signed into law May 18th by Governor Henry McMaster and immediately went into effect.

Under the new state law, it is now a separate crime to buy or sell a stolen catalytic converter. People found guilty could face up to three years in prison.

According to law enforcement, thieves have been taking catalytic converters for the precious metals inside of them – palladium, rhodium and platinum. They can steal a converter in just a matter of minutes.

Law enforcement said thieves can make hundreds of bucks by selling them to junkyards, but the new law will make it harder for stolen converters to be sold in South Carolina.

Captain Myrick said, “Anytime there’s a change to law or new law that comes about – we’re going to enforce that. And in certain situations, we’ll be able to use that.”

Now, all transactions involving the emission control device have to be documented. You will also need a paper trail of how the converter you’re trying to sell was detached from your vehicle.

Myrick said they’re hopeful this new law will slow the upward trend in thefts we’ve seen across the state. “We hope it turns into a deterrent. A lot of it comes down to education and outreach.”

Law enforcement said to prevent theft, you can ask your mechanic to put an anti-theft device on your converter, bolt it on, or etch a marking on it that you can recognize. In turn, that will help law enforcement identify your stolen converter.

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