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Utah leaders, law enforcement aim to stop catalytic converter thefts

Posted at 6:59 PM, Sep 23, 2021

SALT LAKE CITY — Catalytic converter thefts continue to increase in Utah, and the thefts are taking thousands of dollars out of the pockets of families and businesses.

In 2021 alone, there have been over 500 reported cases of stolen catalytic converters. This type of theft is up over 600 percent since 2018 in the state of Utah.

Catalytic converters ingest dirty air and rhodium platinum and palladium metals inside the part clean the air before it is redistributed. These metals that make the converter function also make it very valuable and a target for theft.

On Thursday, a group of lawmakers and police gathered to talk about the scope of the problem and also announce a solution that is in the works.

"All of us are dealing with air quality issues along the Wasatch front," said Representative Ryan Wilcox, (R) North Ogden. "This is an environmental issue as much as it is a financial security issue."

The thefts aren't just an issue for Utah families. Local businesses are being impacted as well.

"Two individuals went in, slid underneath a dodge ram pick up truck got the cat, took it and were off the lot in 4 minutes," said John Kirkland, General Manager of Markosian Auto.

Now that pickup truck can't be sold and the company can't get parts to fix it. Even a security system didn't seem to deter the thieves.

"The whole time we have a security company on a microphone screaming we are watching you," Kirkland said. "We are calling the cops doing everything they can do to deter them."

Representative Wilcox said he hopes to make a November deadline for when the new piece of legislature regarding this issue can be voted on.