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Calgary council considers bylaw changes to discourage catalytic converter theft

The City of Calgary is considering changes to its business licence bylaw in the effort to reduce catalytic converter theft.

Theft of the emission control car part have continued to rise in the city, up 16 per cent for the start of 2023 when compared to the same period last year.

"It's extremely costly to folks and it's extremely inconvenient, and we see it going up," said Calgary police Chief Mark Neufeld.

The bylaw will prohibit businesses from taking in damaged converters and prohibit damage to any markings on the valuable car part.

It will also require wreckers and salvage businesses to keep a record of the vehicle identification number (VIN) and description of the vehicle the part came from.

Buying them without collecting the proper info will also be prohibited.

If the new regulations pass, the fine will triple to $3,000.

"You can see it makes it more difficult for people who would be dishonest and i think those are the types of loops we need to close," Neufeld says.

However, one major metal recycler says the changes are flawed and will only serve to drive the business further underground.

"Most people that buy them now don't even have a license to buy them, and then they're packing them up into a box," said Eric Grand-Maison, owner of Big House Converters. "They're shipping them out to a company out of city or out of province."

Grand-Maison says despite being the biggest metal recycler of its kind in the city, no one from council has spoken with him about the problem, despite repeated invitations.

He says more regulation and licensing requirements are needed, but it needs to happen across the industry or thieves will simply figure out the soft jurisdictions and take their business there.

Grand-Maison says there appears to be easy ways around the proposed bylaw.

"None of the converters are marked in the first place, and we see thieves where they just get a random VIN number from anyone that's just like a dead VIN," he says.

The report on the proposed changes can be found online here: Top Stories

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