HOUSTON - Lawmakers are now working on stricter catalytic converter theft legislation, which will be named after fallen Harris County Deputy Darren Almendarez.
Sen. John Whitmire, Chair of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee tells FOX 26, he’s been tasked by the Lt. Governor to hold hearings.
"We have businesses that buy these stolen properties, so I think we got to pass legislation that says, no resale of used catalytic converters," said Whitmire. "We’ve got to get the recycling business under control, and probably talk locally about additional police resources for sting operations."
Thefts of catalytic converters are on the rise as thieves target cars all over the Greater-Houston area, from grocery store parking lots to personal driveways. Local officials say thieves are cashing in.
"In 2020, we had 1,793 stolen in Houston for the entire year," said Ray Hunt, with the Houston Police Officers Union. "In just January, we’ve had 1,974, and that’s on pace for about 12,000 this year."
Hunt says thieves are getting up to $1,500 for each catalytic converter, and they’re going to turn around and sell it for thousands.
"This is very lucrative, this is organized crime," said Hunt. "This isn't crackhead stealing, this is a business for these folks."