Dozens of illegally obtained catalytic converters were confiscated in a multi-agency law enforcement operation in the Hemet area of the San Jacinto Valley Thursday.
A monthslong investigation prompted by the recent spike in stolen catalytic converters led authorities to several local businesses that tipsters said were involved in acquiring the stolen car parts.
Catalytic converter thefts are costing victims thousands of dollars, the Hemet Police Department said in a release.
“It is no secret that catalytic converter thefts have been an issue not only in the valley, but throughout Southern California,” Police Department Detective Katie Rabago said.
The operation, known as Operation Undercarriage, resulted in the confiscation of 56 catalytic converters and 10 citations totaling $56,000 in possible fines.
Businesses identified in the operation were also educated on catalytic converter theft laws and the need to maintain written records.
“We hope this operation informed our local businesses of the dangers of choosing to illegally work with catalytic converter thieves. Doing so not only subjects them to arrest and fines, but they can also lose their business,” Rabago said.
The Police Department said it is already working with other agencies to plan upcoming sting operations.