DENVER (KDVR) — Countless catalytic converters are stolen in Colorado, behind many victims’ frustration and a call for change. The FOX31 Problem Solvers have been hearing these complaints for months.
Auto thefts have risen by 5,100% in Colorado, according to the Colorado Independent Auto Dealers Association. And in the first three months of this year, the Denver Police Department said five catalytic converters are reported stolen on average each day.
A new bill in the state legislature could soon become a law aimed at stopping this.
Current law requires the owner of a salvage yard, a junk collector or any other business that purchases commodity metals to keep a record of all transactions involving commodity metals. The bill applies these same requirements to transactions involving catalytic converters.
Any person who acquires five or more vehicles in a year in order to reclaim parts or metals, including catalytic converters, must consult the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System to ensure that the vehicles are not stolen.
Auto dealers want help for catalytic converter theft victims
David Cardella is the CEO of the Colorado Independent Automobile Dealers Association. He said supply and costs are also an issue. The CIADA has sent a letter to Gov. Jared Polis calling for amendments and has started a petition.
Cardella said the state needs to help those who have already been victimized by allowing after-market catalytic converters to be used in Colorado.
“Unfortunately, the people who have been victimized by the crime of catalytic converters are now being victimized again because they can’t get their cars on the road,” Cardella said. “They can’t get to work. They can’t get to school. They can’t pick up the kids. They can’t go to the grocery store. And it’s created quite a dilemma.”
CIADA said Coloradans are left for months with inoperable vehicles while they await catalytic converter repairs. The availability of CARB-certified after-market catalytic converters is almost non-existent because of supply chain issues, with no remedy in sight.
Cardella said the state also has strict requirements when it comes to aftermarket catalytic converters, meaning getting replacements are even harder.
“That’s the difference between, you know, paying your bill, not paying your bills, paying your rent and not paying your rent. And that really is an unacceptable answer,” Cardella said.
Cardella said he hopes the new bill prevents thefts but believes some thieves take the converters out of the state or even out of the country.
So far, this bill has passed through several readings in both the House and the Senate with little opposition. FOX31 has reached out to the sponsors of the bill and will keep you posted when we hear from them.