Catalytic Converter Theft – Kentucky

Kentucky, like most states, continues to see a rise in catalytic converter theft as we head into 2022. As a result, lawmakers are aiming to pass new legislation in order to slow down the rise of theft and deter thieves from taking them. Senate Bill 114, is adding additional requirements to buyers and sellers in an attempt to reverse the upward trend.

Despite the move in the right direction, vehicle owners are strongly encouraged to take preventative and protective measures due to the significant cost of catalytic converter replacement which can go into the thousands.

Recent news stories about catalytic converter theft in Kentucky

Catalytic converter theft can happen anywhere, however, here are just a few examples of catalytic converter theft in Kentucky’s major cities:

Bowling Green

Crime Stoppers: Attempted Catalytic Converter Theft – WBKO News
Catalytic Converters stolen at Dunlap Family RV – WBKO News
Local truck shop explains reasons for catalytic converter thefts – Spectrum News


‘They can be in and out in under a minute’: Thieves convert catalytic converters into cash – WLWT
Morning Briefing: Four injured in late-night Covington shooting, how to prevent catalytic converter theft and Quintez Brown pleads not guilty during arraignment – Spectrum News




Catalytic converter thefts spiking around County – News-Graphic
Georgetown police warn of catalytic converter thefts – Ipswich Local News


Rise in catalytic converter thefts in Lexington – Lex 18 News
Catalytic converter thefts rose more than 200% in KY last year. How to avoid them. – Lexington Herald Leader
UPDATE: Man wanted in connection to numerous catalytic converter thefts arrested – ABC 36 WTVQ News
Lexington’s Catholic Action Center’s caravan robbed of catalytic converter – FOX Lexington News


‘Major organization’ | 6 charged in string of catalytic converter thefts in Jeffersontown – WDRB News


Car dealership owner wants to warn other dealerships about catalytic converter thefts – Lex 18 News


Thefts of catalytic converters ongoing – Messenger-Inquirer
Salvation Army of Owensboro victim of catalytic converter theft – Tristate Homepage


Madison County food bank hit by catalytic converter theft – Lex 18 News
Catalytic converter thefts from autos are surging – Richmond Times-Dispatch

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it illegal to not have a catalytic converter in Kentucky?

Yes. Under federal law, catalytic converters may not be removed.

Is it legal to straight pipe your car in Kentucky?

No. The 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments made it illegal for private individuals to install “converter replacement pipes”, “test pipes”, or “straight pipes” or complete any modification to the vehicle’s exhaust system in an attempt to bypass or remove the catalytic converter.

What is the state of Kentucky doing to prevent catalytic converter theft?

Currently, part recyclers and scrapyards that purchase catalytic converters must keep a photocopy of a seller’s government-issued identification such as a driver’s license. Buyer’s also must obtain a seller’s signature and the license plate number of the vehicle that the seller arrived in. The transaction must also be documented with the amount and date of transaction and all information kept for two years.

Senate Bill 114, which was recently signed by the Governor on 4/8/2022, and introduced by Republican Senator Whitney Westerfield, further adds that buyers would also be required to obtain and keep records of the receipt for the replacement catalytic converter as well as additional documentation such as the vehicle title and registration. It also adds that failure to maintain records, or any transaction deemed as unlawful, would be a Class B misdemeanor.

Beyond state legislation, vehicle owners are encouraged to check their local municipal laws in their area for additional information.