The months-long investigation was a partnership between the Hemet Police Department, Riverside County Sheriff’s Department and Department of Motor Vehicle investigators assigned to the Vehicle Dismantling Industry Strike Team.
A spike in thefts of catalytic converters, costing victims thousands of dollars, sparked the investigation, which saw authorities carry out unannounced inspections of businesses, Hemet police said.
Officials said “Operation Undercarriage” identified several companies that were dismantling cars, repairing cars, recycling catalytic converters without a license, and some even buying catalytic converters obtained illegally.
“During the investigation, tipsters and those arrested implicated other local businesses they believe may be involved in illegally obtaining stolen catalytic converters,” Hemet Police said on Facebook.
A total of 56 stolen catalytic converters have been recovered, 10 citations have been issued, four unlicensed dismantlers have been identified, two unlicensed auto repair facilities have been located, and three repair companies have been found to be in violation of law enforcement laws. state records.
Authorities also said the companies involved were briefed on catalytic converter and metal theft laws, and how to properly keep written records of catalytic converter sellers.
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