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Bangor recycling plant illegally obtained 190 catalytic converters, according to civil suit

Catalytic converters are shown after being seized in Utah.
Utah Attorney General's Office
Catalytic converters are shown after being seized in Utah.

State officials filed a civil complaint on Tuesday against AIM Recycling in Bangor for the illegal possession of almost 200 catalytic converters. Court documents filed Tuesday say investigators from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles discovered the devices at the plant last August.

Authorities alleged the recycling plant did not have the required license to obtain the converters.

”Somebody’s not gonna crawl under your car and cut your catalytic converter off if he’s got no place where he can go get $200 or $300 for it," said state Sen. Jeffrey Timberlake of Androscoggin, who sponsored a 2022 state law aimed at cracking down on the buyers of stolen converters. "If crooks don’t have a market for their product, they’re not gonna steal it. They’re not gonna take that risk.”

Maine law requires all vehicles made after 1983 to be equipped with catalytic converters, which filter harmful chemicals inside the exhaust system. Catalytic converters in car exhaust systems are targeted by thieves for their precious metals and relatively easy access.

Nick Song is Maine Public's inaugural Emerging Voices Fellowship Reporter.

Originally from Southern California, Nick got his start in radio when he served as the programming director for his high school's radio station. He graduated with a degree in Journalism and History from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University -- where he was Co-News Director for WNUR 89.3 FM, the campus station.