PSLPD: Traffic Stop Leads to the Seizure of 13 Stolen Catalytic Converters
Port St. Lucie - Tuesday August 23, 2022: Two Miami men were arrested in Port St. Lucie Monday after police found 13 stolen sawed-off catalytic converters in their vehicle.
53-year-old Gerardo Reygada and the passenger as 56-year-old Pedro Wong have been charged with 1 count of burglary, 8 counts of grand theft, and 7 seven counts of criminal mischief, loitering and prowling and possession of burglary tools. They're being held at the St. Lucie County Jail.
PSLPD officers arrested the pair shortly after midnight. They stopped a white Mercedes in the 2000-BLK of SW Bayshore Blvd driving with no headlights on, behind the back of a closed business.
Reygada was driving and Wong was in the passenger seat, drenched with sweat and covered with fresh dirt and oil stains, a ski mask was beside him. The officers observed several catalytic converters in the rear cargo area, along with a reciprocating saw on the rear floorboard.
The officers canvassed the area and found an exterior fence to a business with signs of forced entry. Inside 8 catalytic converters were found to have been stolen from work vehicles. After obtaining a search warrant for the suspect’s vehicle , they found a total of 13 stolen catalytic converters, and 2 reciprocating saws inside the vehicle.
Catalytic converter thefts have surged since March 2020. Prices for the precious metals inside them have skyrocketed since the COVID-19 pandemic cut production of the metals at overseas mines. According to a write-up on https://advanceautoparts.com a stolen catalytic convertor can fetch up to $800, or more, on the black market. Unscrupulous scrap yard dealers or others buy them and sell them for more to recycling facilities that reclaim the precious metals inside.
The PSLPD urges businesses in the industrial part of SW South Macedo Blvd and SW Biltmore St to check your vehicles to ensure the catalytic converters are not missing.
If you have any information pertaining to this incident or observed these suspects on your camera surveillance system, you are asked to contact PSLPD Detective Herring at 772-344-4124.