Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill into law Tuesday that increases penalties for the theft of catalytic converters.
Senate Bill 224 was introduced by State Sen. Carol Alvarado (D-Houston). It is known as the Deputy Darren Almendarez Act.
Almendarez was a Harris County deputy who was shot and killed on March 31, 2022, while off-duty. He was trying to stop three men trying to steal the part from his vehicle.
The law increases the penalty for theft to a felony. It also states if someone has two or more catalytic converters, they will be presumed to be unlawfully acquired unless the person works for an auto dealership, repair shop, or similar business.
Thefts of catalytic converters have gotten so out of control in North Texas, the FBI told The Dallas Express that it’s similar to organized crime.
“It’s a lucrative business right now,” FBI Dallas spokesperson Melinda Urbina said. “There’s an incentive to commit the crime, and they operate like any big theft ring.”