DES MOINES, IOWA — Catalytic converter theft has been increasing across the nation in the last several years, and Iowans are feeling the impact.

“This is a pretty quiet, safe neighborhood it is just not something that happens around here and I think we are all just really shocked by it,” said Richard Buffington.

Back in March, Buffington went out to start his car when he noticed his exhaust was a lot louder than it usually was. He got underneath the car and noticed the catalytic converter was destroyed with a saw. Thanks to his security camera on the front of his house he was able to get video of the act.

“Anger, shock, I couldn’t believe the brazenness of somebody just to walk into my driveway in the middle of the day, crawl underneath it, starting hacking away with a sawzall,” said Buffington.

The security video shows how a catalytic converter can be stolen at any place and time. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the monthly rates of converter thefts quadrupled from 2018 to 2020.

In an effort to make selling these parts more difficult, state lawmakers passed through Senate File 2287 at the beginning of May. Governor Reynolds just signed that bill into law this past Tuesday.

“Creates a separate code section to address used catalytic converter transactions, applies record keeping and requirements to anybody who purchases catalytic converters,” said State Senator Waylon Brown, (R) from Osage.

The bill requires businesses who buy used catalytic converters to require the seller’s identification and proof of ownership of the car part. The bill includes a fine if businesses don’t comply. The first offense is $1,000 and the second is $5,000.

Buffington is glad that the legislative branch is working on a way to stop the crime; but wants to see more done.

“I think that the legislative branch is trying with this bill, and the governor, that they just passed. But I think they need help from the judicial branch to take these cases more seriously,” said Buffington.

Thanks to Buffington’s security camera, authorities were able to apprehend the suspect and charge him with the crime.