A Republican from California wants to stop thieves from targeting vehicle exhaust systems.

State Sen. Brian Jones is cracking down on catalytic converter theft across the Golden State. He recently introduced state Senate Bill 919, which proposes extra measures and more rigorous checks for used auto part transactions.

Namely, the proposed legislation requires car manufacturers to permanently label catalytic converters with the matching vehicle identification number (VIN).

Auto parts recyclers will only be permitted to purchase parts marked with a clear and intact VIN. They also must maintain records of who sold them the piece to help track down potential offenders.

Anyone guilty of breaching these rules could be fined and potentially sentenced to jail.

The senator revealed it only takes a few moments for an experienced thief to steal catalytic converters and sell them for a few hundred dollars.

“Two, three, maybe four minutes, and there goes your vehicle’s catalytic converter … [but] the cost to the vehicle owner however can be thousands of dollars in parts and repair costs–not to mention other expenses, such as missed time from work or arranging for alternate transportation,” Sen. Jones said in a statement.

The Republican hopes introducing tougher rules will deter criminals from taking advantage of law-abiding motorists.

“Our legislation will go a long way to help prevent these thefts from occurring by increasing the risk of getting caught and narrowing the options for illegal sales,” he said.

In 2021 almost 1,000 stolen catalytic converters were recovered in San Jose, and 15 suspects were already arrested according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

This bill is expected to be presented to the state Legislature’s fiscal committee on April 4.

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