BREAKING: FBI Busts Nationwide Catalytic Converter Theft Ring, Dozens of Thefts in Boro Park Alone
By: Yehuda Alter
This evening, the FBI announced the apprehension of twenty suspects at the center of a nationwide scheme to steal cataclytic converters out of vehicles. As we have reported in the past, this has been a menace to Boro Park drivers as well.
Aside from the disruption to the lives of the car owners, and one Boro Park chosson who had the part stolen on his wedding day, it can cost around $3000 to replace the part.
In this scheme that has now been disrupted, defendants from a number of states purchased millions of dollars’ worth of catalytic converters, extracted the precious metals powder from them and sold them to companies. According to the FBI, the defendants knew that the parts were stolen.
Creating a market which will buy the parts creates an incentive for people to steal the parts—which explains the epidemic of these thefts.
The statement from the FBI read, in part: In a case like this, law enforcement partnerships are key, said Supervisory Special Agent Jonathan Fairbanks of our Sacramento Field Office: “What local law enforcement sees is maybe one or two people that have five or 10 stolen catalytic converters in the car. But what seems to be a local problem actually fuels a nationwide, systematic procurement of these catalytic converters.” That organized, national nature of the ring is what led to the FBI and other federal partners’ role in this investigation.
“We really took out some of the major players who are involved throughout the United States,” added Supervisory Special Agent Patricia Curran, who works criminal investigations out of FBI Headquarters. “We want to put the message out there that we’re actively pursuing these investigations and trying to stem these thefts throughout the country.”
The 13 defendants are Navin Khanna, 39, of Holmdel, New Jersey; Adam Sharkey, 26, of West Islip, New York; Robert Gary Sharkey, 57, of Babylon, New York; Tyler James Curtis, 26, of Wagoner, Oklahoma; Benjamin Robert Mansour, 24, of Bixby, Oklahoma; Reiss Nicole Biby, 24, of Wagoner, Oklahoma; Martynas Macerauskas, 28, of Leila Lake, Texas; Kristina McKay Macerauskas, 21, of Leila Lake, Texas; Parker Star Weavel, 25, of Tahlequah, Oklahoma; Shane Allen Minnick, 26, of Haskell, Oklahoma; Ryan David LaRue 29, of Broken Bow, Oklahoma; Brian Pate Thomas, 25, of Choteau, Oklahoma; and Michael Anthony Rhoden, 26, of Keifer, Oklahoma.