SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – We are taking a look at what Massachusetts laws are in place to stop catalytic converter theft.

Local lawyer, James B. Winston says that a state bill that former Governor Baker signed before leaving office declared an emergency law to slow and stop catalytic converter thefts. He added that the most serious and common charge for the theft is malicious destruction of a motor vehicle, which carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in state prison. This is because the motor vehicle is damaged during the theft.

In terms of federal efforts, a federal-level bill intended to help police stop catalytic converter theft, was introduced late last year. “It’s not passed but the act is ‘Preventing Auto Recycling theft Act.‘ It would be a way to track these thefts, and establish the federal penalties for this kind of converter theft,” says Winston.

The seven men in connection with the theft of catalytic converters are facing federal charges.