HEMET, Calif. (KNX) — Investigators recovered dozens of catalytic converters Thursday, in part of a months-long investigation into catalytic converter thefts across the region.
The businesses inspections and confiscations were part of “Operation Undercarriage,” a multi-agency investigation in which businesses were ultimately found to be conducting unlicensed auto dismantling, auto repair and catalytic converter recycling, police said.
In all, investigators confiscated 56 catalytic converters and cited 10 businesses, resulting in $56,000 in possible fines, according to police.
In addition, four "unlicensed dismantlers" were identified, two unlicensed auto repair facilities were located and three repair businesses were found to be in violation of California record-keeping laws.
“Investigators actively worked together for months following the spike in catalytic converter thefts occurring statewide, which often cost victims thousands of dollars,” HPD shared on Facebook.
The department went on to explain that, along the way, tipsters and arrestees helped implicate local businesses that they claimed were involved with illegally obtaining stolen catalytic converters.
HPD officers, deputies at the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department’s San Jacinto and Hemet stations and DMV investigators assigned to the Vehicle Dismantler Industry Strike Team (VDIST) assisted Thursday.