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Catalytic Converter Thefts More Than Tripled on Long Island This Year, State Says

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Gov. Kathy Hochul holds Oct. 17 news conference in Farmingdale addressing catalytic converter thefts
Darren McGee/Office of Gov. Kathy Hochul

Catalytic Converter Thefts More Than Tripled on Long Island This Year, State Says

New York State is seeing a sharp rise in catalytic converter thefts, including on Long Island, where they have more than tripled from last year, according to the state.

In Nassau County, catalytic converter thefts have increased by 250% – from 445 stolen last year to 1,549 so far in 2022, the state reported. In Suffolk, they have tripled – from 289 converters stolen last year to 819 so far this year. 

In all, Long Island has seen the number of catalytic converter thefts more than triple from a total of 734 in 2021 to 2,368 so far in 2022.

“Public safety is my top priority, and we’re taking an aggressive, targeted approach to deter criminals from stealing catalytic converters,” Gov. Kathy Hochul said during a news conference in Farmingdale on Monday.

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Catalytic converter on display at Gov. Kathy Hochul’s Oct. 17 news conference in Farmingdale addressing catalytic converter theftsDarren McGee/Office of Gov. Kathy Hochul

Hochul signed legislation Monday that will restrict the purchase, sale, and possession of catalytic converters in an effort to curb the thefts. She also directed police to increase enforcement in high-theft areas.

“Catalytic converter thefts have skyrocketed across our state and nation, and these comprehensive actions double down on our efforts to keep New Yorkers and their property safe, protecting our communities and cracking down on crime,” Hochul said.

Catalytic converters help a car run safely, and oftentimes a driver will not know it is missing until they try to turn the car on and hear an unusually loud, rumbling noise coming from the car. The part can cost thousands of dollars to replace. 

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Gov. Kathy Hochul announced new actions to increase interagency vehicle and catalytic converter theft enforcements in high-theft areas by targeting unauthorized and illegal vehicle dismantlers, or “chop shops.” Hochul also signed legislation (S.9428/ A.1940-E) to combat the theft of catalytic converters, which imposes restrictions on the purchase, sale, and possession of catalytic converters by vehicle dismantlers and scrap processers.Darren McGee/Office of Gov. Kathy Hochul

Hochul’s Catalytic Converter Theft Bill will “amend the Vehicle and Traffic Law to add catalytic converters as a major component vehicle part, which will require vehicle dismantlers to maintain records of them.”

“This swift action is exactly the kind of leadership we need, and I am grateful to all who had a hand in making today happen,” said Eric Tenner, a Huntington resident who had his car’s catalytic converter stolen outside his home. “Together we can help our communities feel safer and more secure.”

Thefts of catalytic converters are rapidly increasing nationwide – from a total 1,300 stolen in 2018 to 52,000 in 2021, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the agency that tracks crimes reported to insurance companies.

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