A few posts ago I used the example of a catalytic converter to distinguish between the use of an object and its function. This automotive accessory is used to remove particulates from emissions from the combustion exhaust. In 1975 it became a mandatory car feature and hence functioned as a political solution to pollution reduction.
Recently catalytic converters have been the target of local criminals who brazenly remove them from cars left out at night. Through a network exchange the stolen item is easily traded for cash. Fortunately there’s been a recent ‘takedown’ of nationwide catalytic converter theft ring included seizures in Minnesota.
The DOJ announced the successful operation on Wednesday, saying it is seeking the forfeiture of $545 million in the case, as well as the arrest and charging of 21 people from five states in connection with the scheme.Bring me the News
The network across states allowed a teenager in the Twins Cities to swipe the apparatus, sell it to a fence who passed it along to “a trio of family members who ran an unlicensed business from their home in Sacramento, California, buying stolen catalytic converters from thieves and shipping them to an auto shop in New Jersey for processing.”
The number that I think would be interesting to know is how much the kid on the street is getting for breaking the law. What type of gain is needed for a youth to be tempted into illegal activity? All they give us is:
RXMechanic reports the scrap value of more valuable catalytic converters ranging from $300 and $1,500, with the DOJ saying that depending on the vehicle and the state, they can fetch around $1,000 on the black market.
The market price for youth conversion to criminal activity seems like a useful number. What share of that would be necessary to keep the kid on the right side of the law through some type of employment? Many argue that the lack of policing and consequences for illegal activity has also encouraged theft. But how do we know without keeping track of these numbers?
When a catalytic converter functions as unfettered cash to an urban teen, what is the buyout to preserve the innocence of youth?