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Governor Murphy Signs Bill to Prevent the Illegal Sale and Purchase of Catalytic Converters


Continues Crackdown on and Prevention of Auto Theft in New Jersey

TRENTON – In a continued effort to combat auto thefts in New Jersey, Governor Phil Murphy today signed S249/A2210, making it more difficult for bad actors to sell stolen catalytic converters to scrap yards and making it easier for law enforcement to identify, locate, and prosecute violators.

The bill is one of several steps included in a comprehensive plan the Governor announced in November 2022, comprised of proposed legislation and Administrative action to address auto theft. The bill, which implements certain guidelines concerning the sale and purchase of catalytic converters, will:

  • amend the definition of “scrap metal” to explicitly include all or part of a used catalytic converter that is not attached to a motor vehicle;
  • strengthen the verification of ownership in the process of selling used catalytic converters to scrap metal businesses by requiring the business to document the VIN, the certificate of title or registration, a receipt from a repair transaction, or a bill of sale at the time of purchase, and imposing fines on businesses that violate this requirement; and
  • allow only for scrap metal businesses to purchase used catalytic converters from persons other than a seller, that is a registered business that in the course of its regular business, collects, stores, or sells catalytic converters or other vehicle parts.

“Addressing catalytic converter theft is another method of combating auto theft and crime in our state. Residents who experience the violation of having a critical component of their vehicle stolen are forced to pay thousands of dollars to replace them,” said Governor Murphy. “We take serious the safety of our residents and communities and will continue to confront this issue head on to further the tremendous progress we have made in reducing auto thefts.”

The new law signed today builds on the Murphy Administration’s successful steps to reduce auto theft in the State. In April 2022, Governor Murphy announced a $10 million investment in automated license plate recognition (ALPR) technology to reduce violent crime and auto theft in New Jersey through the federal American Rescue Plan (ARP) State Fiscal Recovery Fund. In April 2023, Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin announced that 34 law enforcement agencies in 21 counties and the New Jersey State Police (NJSP) will receive grant funding to acquire or expand the technology across the state.

“With today’s bill signing, Governor Phil Murphy fortifies our battle against auto thefts in New Jersey,” said Attorney General Matthew J. Platkin. “By implementing guidelines on the sale and purchase of catalytic converters, we raise the bar for accountability, making it harder for criminals to profit from stolen converters and easier for law enforcement to bring them to justice. Together, we send a resounding message: we stand united in safeguarding our communities and will utilize all available tools to combat auto theft."

“Today’s bill signing represents a significant step in assisting law enforcement officers throughout the state to reduce auto thefts and the illegal sale of catalytic converters,” said Colonel Patrick J. Callahan, Superintendent of the New Jersey State Police. “I applaud Governor Murphy for taking legislative steps toward tackling this nationwide issue.”

The prime sponsors of this bill are Senator Nellie Pou and Assemblyman Louis Greenwald.

“Catalytic converter thefts have plagued our state for too long, leaving residents unable to drive their cars and creating an immediate need for major repair,” said Senator Nellie Pou. “I want to recognize my colleague Senator Sandra Cunningham for her tireless efforts in getting this bill passed. This legislation will make it tougher for thieves to resell the stolen parts, or realize a profit, and will discourage the theft altogether.”

“By creating barriers that make it more difficult for individuals to profit from their crimes, we are taking a proactive approach to addressing car theft in New Jersey,” said Assembly Majority Leader Louis D. Greenwald. “This has become a real problem in many communities throughout the State. New Jersey residents deserve to feel safe and secure.”

The new law will take effect immediately.