What are Steve Sisolak, Joe Lombardo doing about catalytic converter thefts?

FOX5 asks Nevada gubernatorial candidates about efforts to fight catalytic converter thefts as California governor signs new statewide laws
Gov. Steve Sisolak (left) and Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo (right) are seen in these...
Gov. Steve Sisolak (left) and Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo (right) are seen in these Associated Press file photos.(Associated Press)
Published: Nov. 7, 2022 at 8:27 AM PST
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) -California Governor Gavin Newsom recently signed two new bills to crackdown on catalytic converter thefts. One of the measures makes it illegal for anyone to buy a catalytic converter from anyone other than “licensed auto dismantlers or dealers.”

With thefts on the rise in Nevada, FOX5 asked the two candidates for governor here if they have any statewide plans to go after thieves.

Governor Steve Sisolak’s Office responded to FOX5 by saying:

“The Governor recognizes that the rise in catalytic converter thefts is a serious issue in Nevada and our office has been working with Assemblywoman Rochelle Nguyen on this issue specifically ahead of the 2023 Legislative Session.”

Nguyen told FOX5 she is working on a statewide felony possession bill. She said she’s been frustrated by several catalytic converter thefts where she lives, around the Medical District.

“We saw just a huge number of them on Nextdoor pages, on Facebook neighborhood pages. I just saw it over and over and over again,” said Nguyen.

Nguyen says her bill will help prosecute thieves and may include measures on who can buy them.

“People are stealing them because they have a place to sell them to,” said Nguyen.

FOX5 sent emails and made several phone calls, attempting to contact the campaign of Joe Lombardo for a response. We spoke with campaign officials over the phone a couple times, but they did not respond about whether the current Sheriff has any statewide plans to stop converter thefts.

Thefts continue to rise around the valley. Latest figures from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department show 2180 reported catalytic converter thefts year-to-date. That is already higher than the total number of reported thefts from all of 2021, with 1894.

People steal catalytic converter thefts for the precious metals inside that are used to clean a car’s exhaust. Some of the metals are worth more than gold. Thieves can steal a catalytic converter in a minute or less. Many people without insurance are forced to park their cars because they can’t afford repairs.

The Department of Justice just announced the takedown of a massive suspected catalytic converter theft ring. Arrests and seizures took place in California, Oklahoma, Wyoming, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Virginia and Nevada. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Nevada confirms two people in Nevada are suspected of being connected to the ring. The DOJ says a New Jersey auto parts company sold metals from converters to a metal refinery for over $545 million. Authorities confiscated homes and luxury cars.