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Artesia City Council Adopts Ordinance to Deter Catalytic Converter Theft

At its April 11th City Council meeting, the Artesia City Council amended the Artesia Municipal Code to make the possession of an uninstalled catalytic converter a violation in the City.  Catalytic converter theft is one of the fastest rising crimes in California and nationwide.  Artesia is one of the first cities to enact such a law.

Catalytic converters have become a highly sought item by thieves due to their value in metals, the ease in which the part can be removed from a car, and the difficulty in tracing a particular part back to the owner.  These parts are built from platinum and palladium, which thieves sell on the recyclables market for a high dollar value, without any requirement to provide proof of rightful ownership.  Additionally, there is currently no City, State, or Federal legislation requiring individuals to provide proof of ownership to law enforcement, if found in possession of an uninstalled converter, even when found in possession of several.  This limits the ability of Law Enforcement Officers in confiscating suspected stolen catalytic converters, when there is no identifiable victim present, or convicting an individual of a crime.  Victims of these thefts are left to suffer costly repairs, and the unease of having their property violated.

The passage of this Ordinance by the City Council makes the possession of any uninstalled catalytic converter unlawful in the City of Artesia.  It also makes it unlawful for anyone to knowingly falsify information or documentation intended to show valid proof of ownership.  Each of these will constitute as separate violations and misdemeanors subject to a punishable fine of $1,000 dollars or by jail time for up to six months, or both.  These provisions were adopted to deter these types of thefts in the community, and give the City of Artesia and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, the legal authority needed to better protect its citizens.  For more information, contact Artesia City Hall at 562-865-6262, Ext. 240 or the Lakewood Sheriff’s Station at 562-623-3500 (for non-emergency).

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