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Florida lawmakers crack down on catalytic converter thefts

Proposed legislation would create third-degree felony charges for “knowingly” purchasing, possessing, or selling stolen catalytic converters.
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Proposed legislation would create third-degree felony charges for “knowingly” purchasing, possessing, or selling stolen catalytic converters.

With catalytic converters including valuable metals, the Florida Senate on Tuesday unanimously passed a bill aimed at curbing thefts of the pollution-control devices from cars and trucks.

“This is happening to cars in driveways, it’s happening to fleet vehicles in fenced yards, and even, even the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile fell prey to this a month or so ago,” Senate bill sponsor Jim Boyd, R-Bradenton, said. “That was just a little bit too far.”

Catalytic converters include precious metals such as palladium and platinum. Supporters of the Senate bill (SB 306) and an identical House bill (HB 185) say thieves quickly cut catalytic converters off vehicles and sell the devices because of the metals.

The bills include creating third-degree felony charges for “knowingly” purchasing, possessing or selling stolen catalytic converters. Also, they would create an “inference” that people with two or more detached catalytic converters knew or should have known they were stolen or fraudulently obtained.

The issue also is positioned to go to the full House.

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