ALBANY, N.Y. (WETM) – Amid a rise in catalytic converter thefts from vehicles over the last year, Governor Kathy Hochul signed a bill that targets illegal “chop shops” across the Empire State.

Hochul signed the bill on October 17, 2022, imposing restrictions on vehicle dismantlers on purchasing, selling, and having catalytic converters. The parts are key to a vehicle’s exhaust system, breaking down pollutants, the announcement explained.

Theft of the converters is also expensive. Hochul’s announcement said that dealers pay around $2,000-$3,000 to replace stolen converters because of the repair costs to the undercarriage, fuel lines, and electric lines, as well.

“Public safety is my top priority, and we’re taking an aggressive, targeted approach to deter criminals from stealing catalytic converters,” Hochul said. “Catalytic converter thefts have skyrocketed across our state and nation, and these comprehensive actions double down on our efforts to keep New Yorkers and their property safe, protecting our communities and cracking down on crime.”

The announcement also said that, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, catalytic converter thefts increased from 1,300 in 2018 to over 52,000 in 2021.

The bill will require chop shops to maintain records of catalytic converters and report the number of converters received every 60 days. “Failing to maintain or produce those records upon request is a Class A misdemeanor and could include monetary penalties of up to double the amount made in taking in allegedly stolen converter components,” Hochul’s announcement said.

New vehicle dealers will also be required to stock catalytic converter etching kits to put a unique serial number on the parts.