“Ringleaders” in the stolen catalytic converter scheme cut off many of the parts from local cars, police say

Authorities say he sold thousands of catalytic converters for nearly a million dollars.

(Courtesy of the Utah Attorney General’s Office) Stolen catalytic converters confiscated by law enforcement are shown.

A 47-year-old Salt Lake City man was arrested this week after authorities said he sold thousands of stolen catalytic converters to a recycling company for nearly a million dollars.

Omar Martinez was charged in the Third Circuit Court with possession of stolen property, money laundering and a pattern of unlawful activity. Martinez is being held by Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Investigators found that Martinez used his own businesses, Del Sol Auto Recycling and El Sol Auto Sales, as fronts for selling stolen catalytic converters as scrap, a press release said, adding that many of the parts are from cars in the community had been cut.

The case represents a “significant” financial loss for hundreds of Utahns in recent months, according to the press release.

From August 2021 to August 2022, Martinez sold 3,556 catalytic converters to Natural Ventures Recycling for $915,230.00 in 423 transactions through his Del Sol Auto Recycling company, according to a probable cause statement.

The Crimes Against Statewide Economy Unit caught Martinez after two other suspected thieves told police they were selling catalytic converters stolen from him.

To prevent catalytic converter theft, the Unified Police Department is working with Jiffy Lube to engrave vehicle identification numbers on catalytic converters in private cars, free of charge.

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