▶️ Feds take down nationwide $545 million catalytic converter theft ring


Federal authorities say they’ve taken down a huge crime ring that stole thousands of catalytic converters from cars and trucks. The FBI says the thieves have made millions of dollars off the stolen parts — a crime that has plagued car owners across the country.

Federal agents swooped in on a New Jersey mansion as part of a coordinated, nationwide takedown of a crime ring trafficking in stolen catalytic converters.

The Justice Department says 21 people were arrested in five states for their roles in the conspiracy, including 13 in Oklahoma.

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It can take less than a minute for thieves to slide under a vehicle and steal its catalytic converter. The devices are part of the exhaust system, converting toxic gas into safer emissions. They also contain precious metals and the price on the black market can top $1,000 each.

The FBI says the stolen converters were shipped to a New Jersey company, which extracted the metals and sold them to a refinery, cashing in for more than $545 million.

With the price of metals on the rise, thefts have soared more than 1,200% since the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 1/3 happen in California where, in 2021,about 1,600 converters were reported stolen each month.

The FBI hopes this week’s arrests will put the brakes on future thefts, saying too many innocent car owners have paid the price.


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