13 Oklahomans Arrested In Nationwide Catalytic Converter Theft Bust


Thursday, November 3rd 2022, 5:15 pm



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Federal agents said thousands of victims can feel a sense of justice after a huge catalytic converter theft ring was busted on Wednesday.

Related Story:
US Attorney: Several Arrested In Catalytic Converter Theft Ring Investigation

They said several of the main suspects were doing business in Green Country and making millions. Converter thefts have affected victims out hard-earned money, police officers working the cases, and even repair shops, trying to get people back on the road.

At American Discount Brake and Muffler, manager Nick Mancino stays busy, dealing with the aftermath of thieves constantly taking catalytic converters off vehicles. He said he used to see about six thefts a year before COVID.

Related Story: Residents React To Catalytic Converter Theft Ring Bust In Wagoner County

"Now on an average week, we may do 10 to 15 stolen converters in a week," he said.

Nick said these converters are a pain to replace and can be expensive, from several hundred to thousands of dollars.

"The amount of the repairs is sometimes more than the car is worth," he said.

Thieves take them because of the precious metals inside.

“This is literally more valuable than a gold bar once it's refined," he said.

“I turned it on, it was loud as could be," said victim Ben Harvey. "It sounds like a drag-strip car.”

Ben Harvey drove up Thursday in the bus he bought to take high school athletes to church each week. Someone stole the converters and it’ll cost him at least $750 dollars.

”It made it tough; it makes it tough, but I still took 20 kids to church last night," he said.

Homeland Security Investigators busted a massive catalytic converter theft ring Wednesday. They said Tyler Curtis ran a business near Coweta off Highway 51 that sold thousands of stolen catalytic converters to a place in New Jersey.

They said that operation alone dealt in more than $13 million worth of converters and he was just one person in several states accused of doing the same thing.

“Finally, finally, it's about time something like that could happen," said Mancino.

Thirteen people were arrested Wednesday including people from Bixby, Wagoner, Tahlequah, Haskell, Choteau, and Kiefer.

In Tulsa alone last year, 2000 catalytic converters were stolen.

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