Deputy Darren Almendarez Act becomes law, increasing penalties for catalytic converter thefts

More than a year since Harris County Deputy Darren Almendarez was gunned down by criminals trying to steal his catalytic converter, a new law has been signed to increase the penalty for thieves. 

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The act, which shares the same name as the slain deputy, was introduced as Senate Bill No. 224 and signed into law by Governor Greg Abbott, and is effective as of Monday. At least two sections, however, will take effect on July 1, 2023. 

Back in March 2022, Deputy Almendarez, a 23-year veteran with the Harris County Sheriff's Office was at a grocery store on FM 1960 with his wife, Flor when he spotted thieves trying to steal his truck's catalytic converter. 


When he approached them, investigators say he was shot several times, leaving Mrs. Almendarez a widow. 

"It's the worst pain I've ever felt before," she told FOX 26 back in April. "To see my husband die in my arms. I will never forget that."

Deputy Almendarez's murder came at a time when catalytic converter thefts were skyrocketing at an alarming rate. In fact, a report showed Texas had the second most thefts in the country, showing a more than 10,000 percent increase since 2019. 

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Read the entirety of the Deputy Darren Almendarez Act by clicking here.