Catalytic converter thefts are on the rise in New York, and News 12’s Kurt Semder sat down for an exclusive one-on-one with Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark to discuss the matter.
“People would call me up and say, ‘DA Clark, we just had, our block, nine cars, their catalytic converters taken,'” Clark says.
According to the NYPD, 7,000 converter thefts have been reported in the city, nearly 2 1/2 times more than the same time last year. In the Bronx, 1,200 have already been stolen this year.
Auto parts contain metals like platinum and palladium, making them a target for criminals. Clark likens the thieves to pit crews at Nascar: “They’re experts, they don’t take long.”
A recent fatal car accident following a theft of a catalytic converter has led the district attorney’s office to investigate those responsible.
“We are interested in investigating those involved,” says Wanda Perez-Maldonado, head of the DA’s investigations division. “Whether it’s crews, gang members or those individuals who seize an opportunity and exploit it.”.
City and state government officials are cracking down on the recent increase in catalytic converter thefts. Governor Kathy Hochul on Monday signed into law the comprehensive Catalytic Converter Theft Bill, which aims to track the sale and recycling of catalytic converters at junkyards, among other theft prevention measures.
On Thursday, the city council will also discuss potential legislation.
DA Clark has partnered with the NYPD for an event where drivers can get tags attached to their converters, marking them with a number. He also urges people to keep reporting the crime.
“We have to let [perpetrators] know that if you do this, you will be held accountable,” Clark says.