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Congress Addresses Catalytic Converter Theft

A bipartisan group in the U.S. House and U.S. Senate introduced a bill to stop thieves who target catalytic converters in RVs and other vehicles. The bill would require each catalytic converter to be stamped with a VIN number so police and scrap dealers would know whether they are dealing with stolen property. Currently, catalytic converters are untraceable.

The bill would also make it a federal crime to steal, sell or traffic in stolen converters. And it would provide grants for dealers and repair shops to stamp VIN numbers on catalytic converters when existing RVs or other vehicles are in for work.

Since the legislation was just introduced last week, it has a number of steps to pass before becoming law. Thieves steal catalytic converters because they contain valuable precious metals like platinum, palladium and rhodium that they then sell. Replacing the converters is very expensive, typically costing thousands.

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