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Leduc introduces $1,000 fines to curb catalytic converter thefts

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The City of Leduc has made an amendment to its Business Licence Bylaw in an attempt to curb catalytic converter thefts.

Anyone found to be in possession of an unattached catalytic converter can now be fined $1,000, unless they have a valid business licence for an automotive repair or supply business.

“(Theft) hurts so many of our charities, volunteers who are trying to do good work in our community,” Leduc Mayor Bob Young told CTV News Edmonton. “And once the converter has been stolen it means they can’t use the vehicle until it’s been replaced, and then it’s a significant hit to them financially.”

People who are not covered under a business licence but have a legal reason to be in possession of an unattached catalytic converter can apply for a free permit at the Leduc RCMP detachment.

Young says the city based the bylaw off existing ones in St. Albert and California that targeted other kinds of items, but he believes this is a first-of-its kind bylaw in Canada that deals with catalytic converters.

He added that Leduc has seen an 82 per cent increase in catalytic converter thefts this year, but up until now it has been a difficult crime to prosecute.

“One of the frustrating things for our law enforcement is that even though you catch someone who has some catalytic converters, there’s no way of identifying them, so there’s no way to say that they’re stolen,” Young said.

“We’ve had several stories where someone has been stopped and has had several converters in the back of their truck, but again because we can’t prove that they’re stolen, not much we can do.”

Leduc has made efforts to curb the thefts in the past by providing engravers to local automotive businesses so that shops could engrave the VIN number of a vehicle onto the catalytic converter, but Young said it hasn’t been as effective as the city would have liked.

He’s hoping the new bylaw will be the tool that turns the tides. Young says the fine attached to the new bylaw is more than thieves can get by selling the converters.

“I believe they get about $400 for the metals that are in there, so we’re hoping that a $1,000 fine will discourage it.”

Young says he’s hoping to see other municipalities implement similar bylaws.

“There’s been a lot of interest from other communities, and hopefully other communities will adapt this bylaw, and maybe this is a crime that we can really have an effect on.” 

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