News 12 Exclusive: 1-on-1 with Bronx DA on plans to stop catalytic converter thefts
Catalytic converter thefts are on the rise in New York City, and News 12’s Kurt Semder sat down for an exclusive one-on-one with Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark to discuss the matter.
"People would call me and say, ‘D.A. Clark, we just had, our block, nine cars, their catalytic converters taken,’” says Clark.
According to the NYPD, 7,000 converter thefts have been reported in the city, nearly 2 1/2 times more than at this time last year. In the Bronx, 1,200 have been stolen this year already.
The car parts contain metals like platinum and palladium, making them a target for criminals. Clark compares the thieves to Nascar pit crews: “They are experts, it takes them no time.”
A recent fatal car crash following a catalytic converter theft led the DA’s office to investigate who is responsible.
“We’re interested in investigating who are these individuals involved,” says Wanda Perez-Maldonado, Chief of the D.A.’s Investigations Division. “Whether they’re crews, gang members, or are these individuals that are taking an opportunity and exploiting it.”.
City and state government officials are cracking down on the recent jump in catalytic converter thefts. Gov. Kathy Hochul signed the Comprehensive Catalytic Converter Theft bill on Monday, which aims to track the sale and recycling of catalytic converters at scrapyards, among other theft prevention measures.
On Thursday, the City Council will also discuss potential legislation.
DA Clark has teamed up with the NYPD for an event during which drivers can get labels attached to their converters, branding them with a number. He also urges people to continue to report the crime.
“We need to let [perpetrators] know that if you do this, you’re going to be held accountable,” says Clark.