Senator seeks to combat catalytic converter thefts in Nebraska

State Sen. Steve Lathrop has introduced a bill that would target catalytic converts sales and potentially make it harder for thieves to make a quick buck.

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – Catalytic converter thefts have been on the rise in Lincoln for the past few years.

In an attempt to slow the thieves, the city implemented an ordinance that would require a permit during converter sales.

State Sen. Steve Lathrop of Omaha is taking it one step further.

He’s introduced LB 994, which would require sellers to present the VIN number of the vehicle the converter came from, along with the make and model of the car. On top of that, payment must be by check and be sent by mail.

“The question is, how do we regulate to stop thefts?” Lathrop said in a hearing at the Capitol on Wednesday.

There were people from both sides of the argument at the hearing, but the message was the same: Thieves need to be stopped.

“I suggest a webcam in every shop with a fingerprint pad,” said Jeffrey Benezra with American Recycling in Lincoln. “I guarantee the thefts will slow down at least, if not stop altogether.”

Benezra said the business stopped buying catalytic converters altogether just to make sure they weren’t buying stolen ones.

He said that things like the city ordinance and the new bill are steps in the right direction but that ultimately, they could make it harder for businesses to do their job and not do much to stop the thieves.

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