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Posted on: May 27, 2021

New South Carolina law to help stop catalytic converter thefts

catalytic converters on a floor

YORK COUNTY, SC – A new law passed in the South Carolina general assembly intends to help stop the rise in catalytic converter thefts. The new law that went into effect on May 18, 2021 makes it illegal for people to transport or sell catalytic converters without proper documents, and makes it illegal to sell catalytic converters except to approved metal recyclers. To sell to a recycler, a person has to have documentation that the converter was legally obtained.

The new law, 16-17-680(2)(a), reads: It is unlawful for any individual or entity other than a permitted secondary metals recycler to purchase, or attempt to purchase, a used, detached catalytic converter or any nonferrous part of a catalytic converter. 

Those purchasing catalytic converters will need to have a secondary metal recycler permit. In addition, those transporting or selling catalytic converters will need the a non-ferrous metal permit. 

If a person is found in possession of, transporting, buying or selling a catalytic converter they will also need the following:

  1. The name of the person or company that removed the catalytic converter.
  2. The name of the person for whom the work was completed.
  3. The make and the model of the vehicle from which the catalytic converter was removed.
  4. The vehicle identification number (VIN) of the vehicle from which the catalytic converter was removed.
  5. The part number or other identifying number of the catalytic converter that was removed. 
  6. The certificate of the title or certificate of registration showing the seller’s ownership interest in the vehicle. 

Penalties for the first offense, illegally carrying or selling a catalytic converter is a misdemeanor and punishable with up to three years in jail and a fine. A second offense is a felony that comes with up to five years in prison and fines.

In January, the YCSO made the process for obtaining a scrap metal permit easier. Citizens in need of a permit to recycle non-ferrous metals can apply for a permit online at www.yorkcountysheriff.com. A new addition to the permitting application is applicant must read and acknowledge the new catalytic converter law. 

In 2020, 142 catalytic converters were reported stolen. So far in 2021 the YCSO has investigated 65 catalytic converter thefts, and have made eight arrests.

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