HEBRON, Ky. — Kentucky lawmakers hope a recently introduced bill will make it more difficult to buy stolen auto parts, stopping thieves from getting a big payday from stolen catalytic converters.
It is not just lawmakers addressing the problem, but local business owners, too. They are taking steps to buck the trend.
The thefts can happen in a matter of minutes.
"Someone goes out in the car to start their morning, goes to the store, someone can pull their converter off. Unfortunately, people are out there trying to make a quick buck. And they'll steal them," Kyle Greis, the general manager of Besslers U Pull & Save in Hebron.
Greis said the store buys hundreds of vehicles every month ... and that equals a lot of parts.
But one part that is not found there? Catalytic converters.
Workers pull them off and Greis said that is for good reason — so the parts would not end up in the hands of thieves.
"They're very high in value. You can't resell them with them being a federal emissions device. We do pull them off, and recycle them in the proper manner before they hit our field," Gresis said.
Greis says his store is being responsible and not buying any individual parts.
But, that is not the case everywhere across the commonwealth. Some people are buying from potential thieves with their eyes on making a profit.
"They're bringing in about $2,000 a pop I'm told," Greis said.
This is where Kentucky Senate Bill 114 comes in. Lawmakers said the goal of the bill is to the raise the bar on record keeping. The bill would require proof of ownership for those who buy them.
"This should be super easy to identify who comes in and sells a $2,000 piece of a car that's clearly been cut out of a vehicle," said Kentucky Senator Whitney Westerfield.
If the bill passes, those who buy catalytic converters and do not keep records could face some steep penalties
Greis said he hopes other businesses will convert their mindset on catalytic converters so thieves have nowhere to go to sell them.
"For the consumers and individuals that have had cats stolen off the vehicles, I hope it does curb that in the future," Greis said.