A new ordinance in the city of Bloomington aims to crack down on catalytic converter thefts — a crime that law enforcement officials say can be hard to prove.
The ordinance adopted this month by the Bloomington City Council makes it a misdemeanor offense to possess a detached catalytic converter within the city unless a person can provide proof or verification of being in legal possession.
"The purpose of this ordinance is to address those traffic stops where an officer stops a suspected thief and there are multiple converters in the vehicle," according to a city memo.
"People who are doing legitimate recycling business will not be impacted," the memo continued. "However, this ordinance allows police officers to lawfully seize catalytic converters and cite the person in possession of a detached catalytic converter."
There's no state law regulating catalytic converter thefts, so cities have been testing different ways to help solve the problem.
Some cities, including Shakopee, are deterring thieves by offering anti-theft kits to permanently mark catalytic converters with unique identification numbers.
“The legislature should’ve passed a law to make this illegal in Minnesota, but they haven’t," said Bloomington Police Chief Booker Hodges.
Catalytic converters typically cost $2,500 to $3,000 to replace.
“This is something that we are going to take very seriously here in the city of Bloomington,” Hodges said.
Fifteen vehicle models are targeted most frequently by catalytic converter thieves, according to the Minnesota Department of Commerce.
The full list can be found here.