Now that the weather is changing Yakima Police are warning that thieves will be roaming city streets. Many of the thieves are looking for specific items that are valuable including something they may steal from your car. Capt. Jay Seely of the Yakima Police Department says catalytic converter thefts are still a big problem in Yakima and around the state. But a new bill passed by the state legislature this past legislative session may make a big difference in the future and could help save a vehicle owners a lot of money.

The bill is now awaiting the governor's signature to become law

The bill creates new requirements on the owners of auto wreckers that purchase the used catalytic converters. The bill also starts a program to fund sting operations by local police and creates a task force to talk about future changes to the law. The bill is now awaiting the signature of the governor to become law.
The thieves steal the converters and take them to recyclers and get about $100.
But victims are the those who pay because it can cost thousands to replace the converters.

You can protect yourself in a variety of ways

Authorities around the state and in Yakima say it's a regional problem. Thefts have been reported in many cities on the west side of the state and in the Spokane area.
Yakima County Sheriff's Deputies say the thieves are now in the Yakima Valley looking for victims. So how do you know you've been ripped off?
They say one way to tell if you've been a victim of a thief, your car may make a loud noise when starting.
So what can you do to protect yourself? Some drivers are engraving their names on the converters so they can't be sold.
Yakima County Sheriff's Deputies say park your car an area with lots of lights or in your garage. Make sure your car alarm will alert you when people are under your vehicle using a saw to cut off the converter. Deputies also say if you see someone around or under a vehicle call police.

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