Office of Public Affairs & Media Relations
5 ARRESTED, CASH SEIZED IN OPERATION TARGETING SPIKE IN CATALYTIC CONVERTER THEFTS
This week, in a sting operation designed to put a stop to a recent series of catalytic converter thefts across Volusia County, Volusia sheriff’s detectives arrested 5 prospective buyers, most of whom were purchasing converters off the black market and shipping them out of state for profit, a trend that has been increasing across Central Florida.
The 3-day operation started with detectives scanning Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist for ads from buyers looking to purchase catalytic converters. Many of the ads offered to “pay top dollar” in all-cash transactions, and indicated the buyers would come meet a seller to make the deal. It’s believed these ads were contributing to a dramatic increase in catalytic converter thefts in Volusia County. The Sheriff’s Office alone has received reports of about 20 cases since mid-November.
Although deputies identified and arrested one converter theft suspect back in December, the thefts showed no signs of slowing down.
Detectives started contacting buyers and setting up deals to sell them converters. In addition to the 5 arrests, detectives seized a utility trailer, converters and close to $15,000 cash, and identified buyer groups operating out of Tampa Bay, Orlando, Jacksonville and Miami.
By day two of the operation, buyers were getting harder to find. One prospective buyer based in Jacksonville replied “haha” to a text message offering to sell converters out of Volusia County. (A day earlier, two of the arrests were buyers from Jacksonville.)
“This is the kind of proactive work that puts a serious dent in criminal activity and makes at least some of the criminals think twice,” Sheriff Mike Chitwood said at the conclusion of the operation. “The thieves and black-market buyers will always be looking for easy ways to make a quick buck. I just hope it’s all worth it to them when they end up locked up in Volusia County.”
Those arrested during this week’s operation were:
Javier Rivera Rosado, 24 (DOB 10/31/1995), Orlando, acting as an unregistered secondary metal recycler
Amel Osmanovic, 19 (DOB 7/7/2000), Jacksonville, violation of secondary metals recyclers regulation
Amir Osmanovic, 26 (DOB 2/14/1993), Jacksonville, violation of secondary metals recyclers regulation
Rockey Mitchell, 35 (DOB 7/1/1984), Orlando, acting as an unregistered secondary metal recycler
Mustafa Mrgic, 42 (DOB 4/21/1977), Pinellas Park, acting as an unregistered secondary metal recycler
Florida law contains specific regulations regarding the sale and purchase of catalytic converters, prohibiting the very type of activity that appears to have been contributing to so many recent thefts in Volusia County.
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