By: Derick Corbett
Senior VP Pull-A-Part
GRA Board Member
As catalytic converter theft has increased in Georgia, so have the efforts of the GRA working to help law enforcement protect Georgians from criminals.
Catalytic Converter Theft Legislation
During the 2022 Georgia legislative session, representatives of the GRA worked with legislators on two bills that would bolster law enforcement’s opportunities to clamp down on catalytic converter thieves.
HB 1379, introduced by Chairman John Corbett, created the Georgia Motor Vehicle Crime Prevention Commission, which sought to:
- Establish an automotive crimes commission that would raise and distribute money to local law enforcement that would be earmarked for motor vehicle related crimes.
- Provide assets for law enforcement like intelligence operations and opportunities to operate multi-jurisdictional task forces.
SB 591, introduced by Senator Bo Hatchett, focused on who should be in possession of detached catalytic converters. Law enforcement officers have been vocal about the difficulty they have tying catalytic converters to specific thefts due to the nature of the item. GRA members say this bill will help resolve that problem.
While these bills did not make it to Governor Kemp for a signature during the 2022 Legislative Session, the endeavor was an excellent jumpstart to getting them passed during the 2023 Session.
Law Enforcement Training & Education
During 2022, representatives of the GRA also engaged in training and education for law enforcement officials:
- Derick Corbett and Steve Levetan (both from Pull-A-Part) provided a metal theft policy overview for the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police annual conference.
- Derick Corbett (Pull-A-Part) and Chip Koplin (Schnitzer Steel) did the same for the Georgia Sheriff’s Association during their annual retreat.
Community outreach has also been a top initiative for GRA. One of those initiatives has been helping set up VIN etching programs like the one that happened with the Habersham County Sheriff’s department called “Operation Cat Scratch.”
Auto Recycler Pull-A-Part, the Georgia Recyclers Association, and the National Insurance Crime Bureau worked to develop the method for marking converters.
- Steve Levetan (Pull-A-Part) advised the Habersham County Sheriff’s Office about how to get a marking program up and running.
- The Sheriff’s Office partnered with local auto shops implemented the program with local residents In October 2022 at NGTC’s (North Georgia Technical College) Transportation Center.
- Sheriff Kushman said later that after implementing Operation Cat Scratch, catalytic converter thefts in Habersham county declined.
Recyclers in Georgia had a robust 2022. Members of the GRA remain committed in 2023 to their work helping law enforcement, Georgia citizens and recyclers when it comes to catalytic converter and other metal theft.