Mankato Public Safety launches program to deter catalytic converters theft
In response to the rise in catalytic converter thefts, Mankato police have launched a program to help deter the crime.
The program is implemented through the Minnesota Department of Commerce. To participate, owners register their vehicles at any time at the Mankato Department of Public Safety Center. Once the owner is registered, they’ll recieve a packet that includes an identification label with a unique code, instructions, and materials to install the label.
Registration and the packet are free of charge. Owners can opt to install the labels themselves or bring the vehicle to a participating shop for free installation.
Catalytic converters are required for compliance with federal emissions laws but are a costly part for car owners to replace once stolen.
Associate Director of Public Safety Dan Schisel says registering and labeling catalytic converters is helpful in identifying the part if it is stolen.
Catalytic converters currently don’t have serial numbers or identifying features that make them traceable.
U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota is part of a bi-partisan group of senators who want to crack down on converter thefts. Klobuchar, along with Senators Mike Braun (R-IN), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and JD Vance (R-OH), has introduced legislation that would help law enforcement address these thefts more effectively by marking each converter with a traceable identification number.
The Preventing Auto Recycling Thefts (PART) Act would also make converter thefts a criminal offense.
“Throughout the country, we’ve seen an alarming increase in catalytic converter thefts,” said Klobuchar. “By making catalytic converter theft a criminal offense and ensuring each converter can be easily tracked, our bipartisan legislation would provide law enforcement officers with the tools and resources they need to crack down on these crimes.”
Catalytic converter thefts have been regularly reported in Mankato and the surrounding areas in the last several years. In March 2021, two local police departments warned the public of rampant converter thefts. In May the same year, St. Peter police sent a plea for the public’s help after 18 catalytic converters were stolen within three weeks. In July 2021, three men were charged in a number of converter thefts in rural Blue Earth County. And in November, a Brown County man was arrested in a national crackdown on converter thefts.