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B.C. cracks down on catalytic converter thefts

A worker uses a saw on a catalytic converter in this photo provided by Richmond RCMP. A worker uses a saw on a catalytic converter in this photo provided by Richmond RCMP.

The British Columbia government says it has closed a legal loophole that allowed thieves to anonymously sell stolen catalytic converters to scrap-metal dealers.

Public Safety Minister and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth announced the amendment to the province's metal recycling regulations Monday.

The change, which took effect Monday, now requires registered metal dealers to report the sale of individual catalytic converters to police, including passing along information about the seller.

"These thefts create costs and consequences to the livelihoods of British Columbians and this change reduces the incentive to steal them in the first place," Farnworth said in a media release.

The province says the amendment to the law was proposed by groups including the B.C. Association of Police Boards to deter the sale and distribution of stolen goods.

"The theft of catalytic converters is a serious problem and we are happy to have consulted with the province to help curb this illegal activity," said Charla Huber, president of the B.C. Association of Police Boards.

"We believe this provides police with an important tool to close the channel on those who steal and resell these items," Huber added.

Catalytic converters control exhaust emissions on vehicles, and contain precious metals that attract thieves when the value of those metals rises.

According to ICBC, claims for catalytic converter thefts have increased from 89 claims in 2017 to 158 in 2018, 602 in 2019, 1,065 in 2020 and 1,953 in 2021.

The cost of those claims has grown from $356,950 in 2017 to $4.06 million in 2021, according to the insurance corporation. Top Stories


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