AUGUSTA — Maine is home to a suite of new rules designed to cut down on catalytic converter theft from cars.

Catalytic converters are sometimes targeted by thieves because they contain precious metals and are fairly easy to detach from a car. The Maine Legislature passed a law that puts safeguards into the chain of custody for the converters to try to stop thefts.

The rules require car dealers to engrave the vehicle identification number of a vehicle on the catalytic converter.

A photo of a vehicle with the catalytic converter removed. Photo courtesy of the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office

Recyclers must also engrave or permanently mark either the vehicle number or their license and stock number.

The state’s new rules also require residents who remove unmarked catalytic converters to engrave or mark the converter with the VIN.

The state’s new rules go into effect on Aug. 8. Secretary of State Shenna Bellows called the thefts “an infuriating trend” and said the new law would “provide some peace of mind to Mainers who are worried they may be next.”

The number of incidents of catalytic converter theft has spiked around the country over the last three years.

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