Department of Justice Makes Huge Bust in Stolen Catalytic Converter Crimes

The nationwide seizure is valued at over half a billion dollars.

Automotive
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The US Department of Justice has just announced a major bust in the nationwide crime of stolen automotive catalytic converters. The seizure of stolen assets, monies and other contraband are valued at approximately $545 million USD.

“Cats” – vital components in the emissions system of modern-day automobiles that reduce toxic fumes – have a long-standing history of theft, since their composition consists of rare, valuable metals like platinum, palladium and rhodium. Thieves find clever ways of chopping off the catalytic converters from underneath the car’s exhaust system, extracting the rare elements and selling them on the black market, with Toyota Priuses and crossover SUVs with tall undercarriages being common targets. Skilled thieves are able to steal catalytic converters from cars in a matter of minutes.

The DOJ posted on its official government website the details of the takedown, reporting the arrests of key leaders and associates connected with the crime ring. 21 defendants across five states will be charged for the conspiracy, while searches and seizures of assets spanned California, Oklahoma, Wyoming, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Nevada, North Carolina, and Virginia over a total of 32 search warrants. As a result, millions of dollars of stolen assets were captured, along with monetary values within homes, bank accounts, illegal cash, and even luxury vehicles.

FBI Director Christopher Wray released a statement on the matter:

“This national network of criminals hurt victims across the country. They made hundreds of millions of dollars in the process—on the backs of thousands of innocent car owners. Today’s charges showcase how the FBI and its partners act together to stop crimes that hurt all too many Americans.”

Despite the crackdown, the crime may continue to be prominent within the United States and other countries, causing owners to be extremely mindful of overnight parking etiquette.

In other automotive financial news, Tesla stock drops 5% amidst Q3 revenue shortcomings.

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