- December 29, 2020
The Flagler County Sheriff's Office found 13 catalytic converters in the trunk of a BMW that was pulled over for a stolen license plate.
FCSO deputies were initially responding to a BMW driving eastbound on Palm Coast Parkway using plates that were stolen out of Osceola County on Dec. 17. Deputies used stop sticks to deflate the vehicle's tires, but the driver was able enter onto Interstate 95 southbound at a "high rate of speed," according to a press release from the sheriff's office.
The vehicle eventually became disabled near the 279 mile marker, the release said.
The three men inside the vehicle were from South Florida — two from Miami and one from Port St. Lucie — and were arrested on a variety of charges, including grand theft, petit theft, criminal mischief, possession of burglary tools with intent and burglary of a conveyance, according to the press release.
“These three dirtbags from South Florida thought they could successfully commit crime in Flagler County without getting caught," Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly said. "Unfortunately for them, the quick and efficient work of our deputies has landed them in the Green Roof Inn, and they found out the hard way coming to Flagler County to prey on our community was a mistake."
Deputies searched the vehicle and found a second stolen license plate, this one from New York which had been registered as stolen from Palm Beach County on Dec. 1, according to the arrest reports. While clearing the vehicle, deputies also found ski masks and a reciprocating saw with saw blades, all tools used in catalytic converter thefts, the report said. Some of the blades, the report said, had clearly been used.
In the trunk, they found 13 catalytic converters.
Deputies were able to match one of the converters in the BMW to a vehicle near where the BMW was initially seen, that had had it's converter stolen, the report said.
“The theft of catalytic converters is a nationwide problem involving criminals that know no boundaries,” Staly said. "I commend our deputies for another outstanding job and safely apprehending them.”
While searching the suspects, deputies found around five grams of marijuana on the 18-year-old driver the report said, who was also charged with several drug possession charges, as well as fleeing and eluding charges, reckless driving and failure to obey police/fire.
The men were taken to the county jail without issue.