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American police announced on Wednesday that they have dismantled networks of catalytic converter thieves who have amassed crazy sums estimated at more than half a billion dollars.
Twenty-one people have been arrested and charged in connection with the sweep across the United States, according to a federal police statement.
“They have hundreds of millions of dollars off the backs of thousands of innocent motorists,” commented FBI Director Christopher Wray. exhaust.
They contain many precious metals (platinum, palladium and rhodium) whose value has exploded in recent years. Easy to steal, they can fetch more than $1,000 each on the black market.
In California alone, 1,600 catalytic converters are stolen every month, according to Phillip Talbert, a federal prosecutor in that state.
Three of the people charged, originally from California, are accused of having earned 38 million dollars by taking part in this traffic.