HOLMDEL, New Jersey (WABC) -- Federal agents made multiple arrests in several states, including New Jersey, as part of an alleged scheme to traffic in stolen catalytic converters, law enforcement sources told ABC News.
At least 21 people were arrested in four states and are accused of trafficking stolen catalytic converters to states like New Jersey.
Federal agents served search warrants Wednesday morning at several places, including DG Auto Parts in Holmdel, New Jersey, which is based in a luxury $1.7 million home.
According to court documents, catalytic converters were stolen in California and other states and transported to New Jersey where precious metal powders were taken out and sold to a refinery.
They also say DG Auto Parts created and operated an app that gave real time prices to catalytic converter thieves and their customers. They even advertised on Facebook that they would pay for shipping, officials said.
In addition to the indictments, law enforcement executed more than 32 search warrants in connection to the alleged schemes and seized millions in assets "including homes, bank accounts, cash, and luxury vehicles," the Justice Department said.
Catalytic converters, which reduce pollutants from a vehicle's exhaust, are regularly targeted for theft because they contain precious metals in their core, including palladium, platinum, and rhodium.
Some of those metals are worth more than gold.
Catalytic converter theft has become a nationwide problem.
The resulting damage can make a car inoperable or, at the very least, illegal to drive under EPA regulations.
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