NEW YORK — The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is putting a warning out to New Yorkers about a recent surge in catalytic converter thefts that have been happening across the state.
In result of these thefts, the DMV launched a new initiative this week to help law enforcement officials track stolen catalytic converters and to stop future thefts from happening. Officials from the DMV joined members of law enforcement, the National Insurance Crime Bureau, and the Niagara Frontier Automobile Dealers Association in Buffalo on Thursday to show what they're doing to stop these thefts.
According to the DMV, auto dealers will now be able to etch a traceable serial number onto the catalytic converter, which will be clearly visible. The serial number will allow automobile dealers and law enforcement to link the catalytic converter back to the vehicle it was stolen from.
The DMV says it's working with the Niagara Frontier Automobile Dealers Association to distribue etching kits to local car dealerships.
"New car dealers have been hit particularly hard by these thefts. In addition to the cost to replace the stolen parts, these thefts often result in thousands of dollars in additional damage to the vehicle, which means a dealer has to wait to sell the vehicle or a new car buyer has to wait significantly longer to receive their vehicle," said DMV Commissioner Mark J.F. Schroeder. "We are happy to help get etching kits into the hands of dealers to help them fight the scourge of catalytic converter thefts."
According to the DMV, the street value of a catalytic converter is roughly $200 to $500 and the damages reportedly cost thousands of dollars to repair.
"Automobile dealers realize catalytic converter theft is one of the fastest growing crimes across the nation. Prevention, awareness, and education is needed because this crime impacts every vehicle owner," said Paul Stasiak, president of the Niagara Frontier Automobile Dealers Association.
"This silent theft creates with an enormous replacement expense for owners, causes serious safety consequences and generates major consumer inconvenience to replace, so the Niagara Frontier Automobile Dealers Association (NFADA) applaud the strong efforts of NYS DMV Commissioner Mark Schroeder and this task force to address and curb this growing issue. NFADA and our WNY dealers are happy to assist this task force and help be part of any solution to prevent future catalytic crimes."