COOK COUNTY, Ill. — A Worth Township man has been charged with a Class 1 felony after more than 600 stolen catalytic converters were found on his property.

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart announced the charges Thursday amid boxes displaying the 612 recovered converters. He said his office could not find an incident anywhere in the country with more recovered in a single bust.

On May 7, Cook County Sheriff’s Police responded to a burglar alarm in the 600 block of 128th Place in unincorporated Worth Township, according to a release from the Sheriff’s office. When officers knocked on the door, no one responded, so they walked along the property’s perimeter to ensure it was secured. While doing so, officers spotted what appeared to be hundreds of catalytic converters through the backyard fence.

Ramsy Sandoka

An investigation was launched and on May 9 the Sheriff’s Police and the Illinois Statewide Auto Theft Taskforce executed a search warrant on the property, owned by 40-year-old Ramsy Sandoka. According to the release, Sandoka owns a tow company but does not have a license to buy, sell, recycle, or possess catalytic converters. He was subsequently charged with felony aggravated possession of a stolen vehicle, and misdemeanor counts of failure to keep recyclable purchase records, selling/purchasing catalytic converters, and violation of recycle metal law.

Dart said Illinois is ranked third in the country for the number of catalytic converter thefts, and the thieves in the Chicago area are a part of a sophisticated system of stealing, processing, and reselling.

Tips for dissuading theft include:

  • parking your car in a garage
  • if no garage is available, then parking in a well lit area
  • positioning your vehicle in view of a security camera such as a video doorbell

View the full press conference in the video below: