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Catalytic Converter Crackdown Aims to Dry Up the Market for Stolen Parts

By Patty Wetli | March 18, 2015 3:49pm | Updated on March 18, 2015 10:49pm
 The theft of catalytic converters is a problem around the country.
The theft of catalytic converters is a problem around the country.
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LINCOLN SQUARE — A City Council ordinance introduced Wednesday would crack down on those who deal in stolen catalytic converters, a measure aimed at stemming rampant theft of the car parts, which collectively is costing Chicagoans $1 million a year.

The ordinance, introduced by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Ald. Marty Quinn (13th), prohibits secondhand dealers, junk peddlers and pawn shops from buying and selling catalytic converters.

The measure would also provide clear guidelines to repair shops and recycling facilities in terms of who they can accept converters from and how to dispose of them.

The goal, according to a statement from the Mayor's Office, is to "dry up the Chicago market for stolen catalytic converters."

The converters, which contain precious metals including platinum, palladium and rhodium, can fetch $30 to $150 for the thief. Platinum currently is trading for about $1,000 per ounce.

Honda Elements, Jeeps and other cars with that sit higher off the ground are the most common targets, with thieves able to remove the converters in a matter of seconds. Replacement costs vary, but average $750, according to the mayor's statement.

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