Governor Parson signs law making catalytic converter theft a felony

Data shows 166% increase in theft for Springfield so far in 2021.
Published: Jul. 20, 2021 at 4:43 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Catalytic converters theft in 2020 made a huge increase during the pandemic in Springfield. It increased even more in 2021.

As of July 15, 1,088 catalytic converters thefts have been reported to Springfield Police Department according to their data, which is a 166% increase in theft. According to Springfield Police Department data, 408 converters were stolen in 2020 compared to only 66 in 2019.

“Detectives believe the auto parts are being stolen and sold for the valuable metals inside. The Property Crimes Unit has assigned detectives to work specially on this issue in coordination with area agencies in Springfield,” according to the Springfield Police Dept.

Springfield sees huge spike in 2020 according to SPD data
Springfield sees huge spike in 2020 according to SPD data(ky3)

Earlier this month, Missouri Governor Parson signed a new law increasing penalties for catalytic converter theft. House Bill 69, sponsored by Representative Hardy Billington of District 152, changes laws involving metals. The new law makes any subsequent theft within a decade a Class E felony and adds it to the offense of stealing.

“A class E felony is the lowest of possible felony and can be up to four years in prison or fine of up to $10,000,” states the statute.

The first offense of theft would be a Class A misdemeanor. And the bill stiffens penalties for other metals stolen.

Thefts have not only increased here in Springfield, but nationally ever since the pandemic started. The Salvation Army in Springfield is no stranger to these thefts. It has been hit three times in 2021.

“We have to take money out of our back pocket to pay for this and it takes away a lot of our donations,” said Jeff Smith with Salvation Army. Smith says when thieves target their buses it delays picking up donations and even bringing kids to and from summer camp.

“I hope that people realize the consequences are worse than that short term money.” said Smith.

According to data from the National Crime Insurance Bureau, there have been 857 more converters stolen in 2020 compared to 2019 nationally per month. According to NICB’s Operations, Intelligence and Analytics study of reported thefts, there were 282 average monthly thefts per month in 2019, and 1,203 average thefts per month in 2020. The NICB also states a clear correlation between the pandemic and uptick in catalytic converter thefts.

“We have seen a significant increase during the pandemic. There is a clear connection between times of crisis, limited resources, and disruption of the supply chain that drives investors towards these precious metals,” said David Glawe, President and CEO of NICB.

If you would like to donate to the Salvation Army you can click here.

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