Feds Bust Massive $545 Million Catalytic Converter Theft Ring

Authorities are seeking the collective forfeiture of around $545 million in home, luxury cars, and cash.
TheDrive.com, By Rob Stumpf, Nov. 3, 2022

Catalytic converter thefts have gone way up in recent months. Thieves simply pop under high-value targets in broad daylight with a Sawzall, cut off the goods, and stash the hoard in a garage until they can sell them to a scrap yard—if their local government hasn't established a law to prevent those sales, that is.

The federal government has noticed this trend as well and has been working to help clamp down on the theft of these expensive emission parts. On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Justice unsealed records to reveal that it had busted what might just be the biggest national ring of cat thieves to date.

A statement issued by the Justice Department says that it charged 21 people believed to be involved in the ring. The people live in five states, however, arrests, searches, and seizures took place in California, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Wyoming, and Virginia. In total, the U.S. government says that it is seeking around $545 million in civil forfeitures—that include homes, luxury cars, and cash—that are related to crimes and the defendant's thefts.

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