Three members of a Californian family, Tou Sue Vang, Andrew Vang, and Monica Moua, have admitted their roles in a massive conspiracy involving the theft and transportation of catalytic converters. Federal prosecutors revealed that the Vang family trio was part of a national network of thieves, dealers, and processors responsible for pilfering these auto anti-smog devices. The operation resulted in a staggering $600 million worth of stolen catalytic converters making their way from California to New Jersey.
The Vang family members have acknowledged their complicity in transporting the stolen catalytic converters, earning a reward of over $38 million. Additionally, Tou Sue Vang confessed to 39 charges related to money laundering, which has significant implications for the criminal underworld.
Catalytic converters have become a prime target for criminals due to their accessibility and the presence of valuable precious metals, including platinum. The black-market value of these stolen auto components can exceed $1,000 each, as the prices of precious metals continue to rise.
California has been particularly affected by catalytic converter theft, accounting for 37% of theft claims nationwide. Federal prosecutors estimate that approximately 1,600 catalytic converters were stolen each month in the state.