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Make it harder to sell catalytic converters

According to the St. Paul Police Department, the theft of catalytic converters is big business for theives. According to the department, 560 catalytic converter thefts have been reported in the city so far this year.

Catalytic converters are stolen off vehicles in car lots or on the streets. People who find their vehicles vandalized and looted by thieves face an expensive replacement cost. It may be upwards of $1,000, depending on the model.

Catalytic converters make tantalizing targets for thieves. They are relatively accessible under the car, can be sawed loose in a couple of minutes, and they contain some very expensive metals — platinum, palladium and rhodium — which can fetch a fair return at a salvage yard. The price of these metals has been rising, which makes them especially tempting.

Converters are essential for reducing the harmful gases in a car’s exhaust, the metals inside the converters changing them to nitrogen and oxygen.

Several bills have been introduced in the Legislature to do something about it, making it illegal for anyone but a licensed scrap metal dealers to buy scrap converters, to allow them to buy only from repair shops, auto recyclers or the verified owner of the vehicle it came from. Scrap dealers would also be prohibited from paying cash for converters.

Legislators should waste no time passing a bill that will put a crimp in this illegal activity.

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