By The Star Staff
District 4 (San Juan) Rep. Víctor Parés Otero asked the House of Representatives on Tuesday to approve House Resolution 983, which orders an urgent investigation into the theft of catalytic converters in Puerto Rico and the measures that can be taken to mitigate such criminal acts.
“Given the dramatic increase in catalytic converter thefts on the island, in April 2023 we filed House Resolution 983, which orders the Committee on Public Safety, Science and Technology to initiate an in-depth investigation into the theft of this equipment and the measures that can be implemented to deter the criminal act and avoid disruption to the lives of the victims of these crimes,” the legislator said. “Unfortunately, nothing has been done since its establishment; meanwhile, the thefts of catalytic converters continue non-stop.”
The main reason for the sharp increase in catalytic converter theft is that they contain a number of precious metals such as palladium, rhodium and platinum, components that are sold on illegal markets.
According to available data, about 2,200 catalytic converters were stolen in 2022. By the middle of 2023, the figure exceeded 600.
“The problem faced by the victim of this crime is the lack of this part; there are none [available] and they have to wait up to six months for it to arrive. This is a real issue and we have to find solutions,” Parés Otero said. “The resolution is also focused on developing new ideas and concepts to mitigate the impact that this type of criminal action has on the victim.”
“One of the things we want to evaluate is whether the 9% inventory tax is one of the reasons for the lack of these systems being in stock,” the legislator noted. “I support the elimination of this tax, as it was embodied in House Bill 1692, filed by our minority leader [Carlos “Johnny” Méndez Nuñez] and the Speaker of the House, through a request from the Municipal Revenue Collections Center, and which changes that taxation to allow greater inventory.”