New law against catalytic converter theft effective Friday

Published: Jun. 29, 2022 at 6:21 PM CDT
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GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) - A new law to curb catalytic converter theft and more goes into effect Friday.

“We all see it. It’s very common,” Gulfport Police Chief Adam Cooper told WLOX. “It’s a load on the person it happens to. It’s very expensive to get repaired because it’s an expensive item taken right off the car, and it’s not very well protected under the vehicle.”

But now, it’s a little more protected by law.

“Our policymakers have given us a statute that are going to help enhance public safety,” District Attorney Crosby Parker said during a press conference Wednesday at the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office.

Leaders say the new legislation raises the fine for the crime. Anyone selling the equipment is required to provide an ID and VIN number from the vehicle the catalytic converter was removed from.

The transaction must be paid by check, which will provide a paper trail for law enforcement.

“On the way over here, I saw catalytic converters. It’s just right down this road,” Lieutenant Governor Delbert Hosemann said. “Now, they’ll be honest people selling them. That’s real important.”

State Senator Mike Thompson and Representative Kevin Felsher collaborated on the bill for more than a year.

“I’m just hopeful that it helps out my local community,” Thompson said. “In Long Beach, we had one neighborhood get hit with like 20 vehicles in one night.”

“We did it with the input of a lot of people: law enforcement, district attorneys, the business community,” Felsher said.

The new law also provides more protection against copper wiring theft.

Several telecommunications companies in Mississippi like AT&T have reported their copper wiring stripped.

“I think today also highlights what happens when law enforcement, business communities and our policymakers work together,” Parker added.

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