‘Maybe more valuable than gold.’ 4 arrested for stealing catalytic converters

After a wild chase through New York City and Westchester, Yonkers police arrested four men for stealing catalytic converters.

News 12 Staff

Mar 24, 2022, 10:00 AM

Updated 851 days ago

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After a wild chase through New York City and Westchester, Yonkers police arrested four men for stealing catalytic converters.
Plainclothes officers were surveilling Delano Avenue at Agawam when they saw the catalytic converter theft in progress.
The four men led police on a chase through city streets and the New York State Thruway, eventually coming to a stop at Underhill Street after
striking a marked police car. The men attempted to flee on foot but were apprehended by officers.
Junior Silverio, 25, along with 18-year-old Edwin Fortunato-Tapia, 19-year-old Luis Estevez-Peralta and 25-year-old Andy Rosario are facing several
charges, including a felony grand larceny charge.
Investigators say catalytic converter thieves are highly motivated.
"Catalytic converters have three different precious metals. They're extremely valuable.  There's platinum, there's palladium and there's rhodium and I
think rhodium may be more valuable than gold per ounce," said Yonkers police commissioner John Mueller.
Police say thieves can score big paydays, getting anywhere from $50 to $300 each, selling catalytic converters to scrap yards. 
Experts say it could cost between $3,500 to $5,000 to replace.
Mueller says his department has seen a big increase in thefts in the past year with the majority of these bandits using fake out-of-state license plates. "They use that so they don't get picked up on E-ZPass and things like that, and we can't track them."
He says the thefts usually occur after midnight and can take just 60 seconds.
In addition to the fake plates, investigators say look for cars double-parked to block the view while someone goes underneath the car.
Another indicator is loud music at an unusual time. It helps to cover the sound of the tools used to cut out the device. "We need you to be hyper vigilant on the midnight with your Ring cameras make sure they're facing your vehicle," says Mueller.
Drivers are advised to park in well-lit areas where there are security cameras or a secure garage.
But Mueller cautions that if you spot a theft taking place not to intervene. "These are bad guys. These are guys that have attempted murder arrests, possession of firearm arrests, so we don't want the public to intercede. We just want the public to report all the information they have."
Experts say the No. 1 car targeted for its catalytic converter is the Toyota Prius because thieves can get a lot of money for it. SUVs and trucks are also popular targets because they're high up and easy to get underneath.


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