The Justice Department announced charges against 21 individuals involved in an organized theft of catalytic converters. From 2018 to 2020, catalytic converter thefts skyrocketed by nearly 700%. Catalytic converters are now big money due in large part to the precious metals used in the manufacture of devices. They are designed to convert harmful gas emissions created by your vehicle into non-harmful gas emissions that reduce smog and protect the environment. Without a catalytic converter, your car will not run properly, either. As the value of these precious metals has increased over the past few years (think inflation), catalytic converters are becoming a prime target for thieves.
As of right now, some states have moved to place catalytic converters on a list of restricted items that require ownership documentation and provenance to exchange. Others have yet to pass legislation addressing the thefts of catalytic converters, but as the situation worsens, chances are likely that more states will join in to include catalytic converters on lists of restricted items.
The 21 individuals charged in the ring lived in nine separate states. 32 search warrants were executed, and millions in assets were seized as a part of the investigation.