City of Humble attempts to combat catalytic converter theft with new ordinance

Catalytic converters contain metals that have increased in price due to supply chain issues brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Catalytic converters contain metals that have increased in price due to supply chain issues brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

Catalytic converters contain metals that have increased in price due to supply chain issues brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)

The city of Humble is taking measures to protect its residents against catalytic converter theft with the unanimous approval of a new ordinance May 12.

According to City Manager Jason Stuebe, the newly approved ordinance amends Chapter 32 "Second Hand Goods," Article III "Precious Metals and Gem Dealers" of the city's code of ordinances, effectively requiring metal or junk dealers in the city to report any catalytic converters that may come into their possession to the Humble Police Department.

According to Stuebe, the ordinance mirrors a similar measure recently adopted by the city of Houston.

"We took it one step further, though, than the city of Houston did," Stuebe said. "It's also ... basically making it unlawful to possess a catalytic converter that has been effectively cut away from a vehicle. Typically, if [a catalytic converter] is lawfully removed, it's going to be unbolted and be attached to the rest of the exhaust system. ... Typically, most of your repair shops are not going to be cutting catalytic converters; they're going to be removing them the appropriate way. So that would be a misdemeanor that we would be able to [charge] someone with."

Stuebe said the ordinance was strongly recommended for approval by Humble Police Chief Ken Theis. According to insurance claim data reviewed by the National Insurance Crime Bureau, catalytic converter theft increased 325% nationally in 2020, and Texas was ranked second among states with the most catalytic converter thefts. According to the NICB, metal recyclers will typically pay $50-$250 per catalytic converter.


"This ordinance, this is one more measure, one more way for us to support our police department and in doing so [help] us keep our community safe [and] help our people feel safe wherever they are in the city of Humble—that's our most important job," Mayor Norman Funderburk said.

Ally Bolender contributed to this report.
By Hannah Zedaker

Editor, Spring/Klein & Lake Houston/Humble/Kingwood

Hannah joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in May 2016 after graduating with a degree in journalism from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, Texas. In March 2019, she transitioned to editor of the Spring/Klein edition and later became the editor of both the Spring/Klein and Lake Houston/Humble/Kingwood editions in June 2021. Hannah covers education, local government, transportation, business, real estate development and nonprofits in these communities. Prior to CI, Hannah served as associate editor of The Houstonian, interned with Community Impact Newspaper and spent time writing for the Sam Houston State University College of Fine Arts and Mass Communication and The Huntsville Item.