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Does Decriminalizing Petty Theft Embolden Criminals to Steal Catalytic Converters?

Much work remains to be done to combat catalytic converter theft. The good news is that some people are working to pass legislation that will raise awareness of the problem and, hopefully, put us on the right track to resolving it. Unfortunately, this is only the beginning of a much larger problem. Inputting a VIN number on a catalytic converter may not deter most thieves, putting car owners at risk of thousands of dollars in repair costs. We see it as a starting point. A base plate that was difficult to remove without the proper tools would do a much better job than adding a VIN number that the thief would most likely notice after they destroyed the property. Furthermore, it appears that the punishment is not severe enough for the vast majority of petty criminals. Under current law, theft is considered grand theft if the value of the stolen property exceeds $950 and is punishable as a misdemeanor or felony. This means that law enforcement is unlikely to investigate theft of less than $1,000, and if they do, prosecutors are likely to dismiss the case.

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