Legislation introduced to create federal task force to crack down on catalytic converters thefts

New Jersey has seen hundreds of catalytic converter theft crimes within the last month.

Matt Trapani and Eliecer Marte

Jun 20, 2023, 4:58 PM

Updated 340 days ago

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Law enforcement departments say that thefts of catalytic converters have surged across New Jersey.
South Brunswick police say that 30 thefts happened in just 10 days last month.
Sen. Bob Menendez is calling the issue an epidemic and says that he has a new plan to crack down on the thefts.
“We need to increase public awareness, update our laws where needed. We need to provide law enforcement agents the tools they need and share these practices from federal, state and local departments,” Menendez says.
The Democrat has introduced legislation to form a federal task force to crack down on these crimes.
Hackettstown police have been investigating the theft of 18 catalytic converters from Amazon trucks parked which were all parked in the same location. Thieves have also targeted several Bergen County municipalities, including Elmwood Park, Glen Rock and Teaneck.
“It is too easy. Criminals stealing them in broad daylight. It is cheap, you don’t sophisticated tools to take them from underneath cars…and it pays hundreds of dollars in profit,” Menendez says.
Officials have stated that these crimes need immediate attention since they are causing residents thousands of dollars in vehicle repairs. 
“New Jersey is currently ranked No. 5 in the nation – fifth for catalytic convert thefts. In Bergen County, there were 944 thefts in 2022 and 382 so far this year,” says Wood-Ridge Police Chief Michael O’Donnell.
Local law enforcement agencies are saying this is not an issue they can tackle alone. They say they need legal backing and strong legislation.
The task force would be led by the Department of Justice and the Department of Transportation and would include representatives on the state and local levels.


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