COOK COUNTY, IL – A Worth Township man is facing charges after Cook County Sheriff’s Police and the Illinois Statewide Auto Theft Taskforce (ISATT) found more than 600 catalytic converters in one of the largest recoveries of the vehicle part in the state, Sheriff Thomas J. Dart announced today.
Sheriff’s Police patrol officers responded to a burglar alarm May 7 at a residence in the 6000 block of 128th Place in unincorporated Worth Township. No one from the home responded to officers when they knocked on the door. While the officers walked along the property’s perimeter to ensure the home was secured, they spotted through the backyard fence what appeared to be hundreds of catalytic converters in a metal crate and others stacked along the fence.
Based on this information, the Sheriff’s Police Street Crimes Suppression Unit launched an investigation where they learned that the property belonged to 40-year-old Ramsy Sandoka. Sandoka owns a tow company, but investigators found no records that he or his business have a license to buy, sell, recycle, or possess catalytic converters.
On May 9, Sheriff’s Police and ISATT members executed a search warrant at Sandoka’s residence. They recovered 612 catalytic converters of all shapes and sizes and in various stages of rust. Some did not have any rust on them, indicating they were recently cut.
Sandoka could not produce documentation to investigators to show he owned the vehicle parts or that he had a license to buy, sell, recycle, or possess them. Sheriff’s Police placed him under arrest.
On May 10, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office approved a felony charge against Sandoka of aggravated possession of a stolen vehicle, a Class 1 felony. He was also charged with misdemeanor counts of failure to keep recyclable purchase records, selling/purchasing catalytic converters, and violation of recycle metal law.
Catalytic converters are a growing target of thieves because of the precious metals contained in them that can be extracted and sold at a high value. According to data from State Farm, catalytic converter thefts have increased more than 400% since 2019 nationwide and Illinois ranked 3rd in thefts.
Sandoka is scheduled to appear for a bond hearing today at the Bridgeview courthouse.
The public is reminded the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty by the government in a court of law.