Merced assemblyman pushing bill focused on catalytic converter theft

MERCED, Calif. (KFSN) -- N & S Tractor in Merced got hit for the second time in just a few months.

A catalytic converter was again sawed off from under a flatbed truck. Two more were taken from almond shakers.

"In parts alone, we're at $11,800 and that's not including labor," says Paul DaSilva with N & S Tractor.

Thieves get anywhere from $50 to $500 from recycling centers for the items.

A bill authored by Merced Assemblyman Adam Gray would require dealers to etch vehicle identification numbers onto catalytic converters.

RELATED: What you can do to help prevent catalytic converter thefts

"So that when law enforcement arrests or investigates and find the culprit, they're able to prosecute right," he said.

Merced County Sheriff Vern Warnke testified in support of the bill.

"I've got a photo of a pickup truck on Highway 99 that had so many catalytic converters in them, it looked like could overflow and there was absolutely zero way I could prove that those were stolen," he said.

Assembly Bill 2682 would allow officers to trace VIN numbers.

Warnke is frustrated by law enforcement's inability to prosecute thieves.

"We've got to get prosecuting these folks because the lack of holding anybody accountable is, I guess, the paramount reason it's going on," he said.

Gray calls his bill a logical first step to combat the rising rate of catalytic converter theft.
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mercedauto theft
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