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California Enacts Law To Combat Catalytic Converter Theft

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Sacramento, CA– Catalytic converter theft has become a pressing issue in California, costing victims up to $4,000 in repairs and resulting in $23 million in damages from 1,600 monthly thefts in 2021. To address this issue, Assemblymember Vince Fong (R-Central Valley) introduced Assembly Bill 641 (AB 641), which was signed into law, aiming to deter theft and protect motorists.

AB 641, which received unanimous bipartisan support in the Legislature, empowers law enforcement to charge thieves caught with nine or more stolen catalytic converters with illegal automobile dismantling. Unlicensed vehicle dismantling is now subject to misdemeanor fines ranging from $250 to $1,000 per offense. Assemblymember Fong emphasized the need for more tools to hold thieves accountable and protect California motorists, stating, “This bill will help discourage theft, increase penalties on criminals, and bring financial relief to California families, businesses, and nonprofits.”

Chief Alexander Gammelgard, President of the California Police Chiefs Association, pointed out that AB 641 provides law enforcement with a critical tool to combat the theft of catalytic converters. This new law will go into effect on January 1, 2024.