The City of Fresno is taking a stand against catalytic converter theft, a major issue that has plagued the city and the state of California. The proposed ordinance, written by Fresno City Council President Tyler Maxwell, has gained support from top city officials and law enforcement.
Under the proposed ordinance, law enforcement would have probable cause to question individuals found in possession of detached catalytic converters without proper documentation of ownership. Those unable to prove ownership may face fines or even jail time.
Mayor Jerry Dyer commented on the issue, stating, “Catalytic converter thieves have no boundaries and no conscience. They operate in every neighborhood throughout our city and beyond.” The theft of these devices results in quick profits for criminals but costly repairs for victims, with replacement costs reaching thousands of dollars per converter.
Today I teamed up with @MayorJerryDyer & @BalderramaPaco to introduce legislation making it illegal to posses a detached catalytic converter without proof of ownership. A stolen cat-con can cost families $2k-$3k and pose a huge burden to our working Fresno families & businesses. pic.twitter.com/56QRNRR7Ry
— Tyler Maxwell (@Maxwell4Fresno) February 21, 2023
Non-Profits in Fresno Hit Hard by Catalytic Converter Theft
Non-profit organizations have also been hit hard by catalytic converter theft, with organizations such as Exceptional Parents Unlimited, United Cerebral Palsy, and the Arc of Fresno and Madera Counties falling victim to these crimes. According to Tamica Hill, executive director of the Arc of Fresno and Madera Counties, over 25 converters have been stolen, resulting in replacement costs of over $2,500 each.
If passed, the ordinance would make it illegal to possess a detached catalytic converter in Fresno without proper documentation or recognition as a core recycler with the city. Those found in violation of the ordinance may face misdemeanor or felony charges, fines up to $1,000, and up to a year in jail per converter.
Fresno Police Chief Paco Balderrama noted that the ordinance would allow for larger investigations and could result in felony charges for those found to be in possession of stolen converters above a certain value.
Fresno City Council to Vote on New Ordinance to Combat Catalytic Converter Theft
To further combat catalytic converter theft, the city recommends visiting local Midas service centers to have the car’s vehicle identification number (VIN) etched onto the converter free of charge. This process not only deters criminals but also helps law enforcement track the device back to its rightful owner.
Although the theft of catalytic converters has recently trended down, supporters of the ordinance believe that it is necessary to combat this ongoing issue. The Fresno City Council is set to vote on the ordinance during their upcoming meeting.