Police Seize Stolen Catalytic Converters, Cash, in Pre-Dawn Raids
By Mitch Baxter
Nassau Police and federal agents - in a series of daring pre-dawn raids - raided the homes and businesses of three men, seizing $4 million in cash along with thousands of stolen catalytic converters.
"Operation Cat-Track," a yearlong investigation into the epidemic of catalytic converter thefts - and the criminal rings behind them - led authorities to execute search warrants at the home of Mazhar Abdullah and his business "Max Auto Recycling," both in Huntington. The police also raided the Long Beach homes of brothers Andrew and Alan Pawelsky, and the two Island Park scrapyards they run.
In addition to the cash and stolen catalytic converters, police also seized decanting equipment, electronics, bank accounts, and vehicles.
Crime rings buy stolen converters, then crush them in decanters to extract precious metals such as platinum, palladium, and rhodium, which can yield up to $12,000 per ounce, according to Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder.
"These are criminal organizations that are profiting on a large scale." stated Nassau District Attorney Anne Donnelly:
The investigation by the Nassau Police and DA, DHS, and the U.S Postal Inspectors continues.