A Pacoima automotive parts recycling business has been accused of involvement in a catalytic converter theft ring, according to a civil lawsuit filed Thursday by Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer.
Gonzales Brothers LLC, located at 12970 Branford St., is alleged to have purchased thousands of stolen catalytic converters off the black market, sold them to other parts recyclers and purposefully neglected to uphold the recordkeeping requirements mandated for catalytic converter sales under California law. Also targeted in the lawsuit is Anaheim scrap metal dealer Kinsbursky Brothers Supply Inc., which is believed to have been Gonzales Brothers’ largest customer. The suit alleges Kinsbursky Brothers bought more than 7,000 catalytic converters from the auto parts business over the course of two and a half years.
“California has more catalytic converter theft than any state in the nation, a problem that’s plagued L.A. motorists for far too long,” Feuer said in a prepared statement. “Today we focus on breaking up the allegedly illegal operations that drive these thefts.”
The LAPD’s Catalytic Converter Task Force discovered the alleged operation through a 2015 surveillance investigation of Gonzales Brothers, the suit states, during which the task force allegedly observed employees partaking in cash sales of used catalytic converters with suspected thieves. A subsequent search warrant of the business allegedly found more than 300 catalytic converters along with tools for removing them from vehicles. Records from transactions involving catalytic converters allegedly neither adhered to the strict identification guidelines set forth in 2009 under California Senate Bill 267, nor contained any written agreements with other businesses regarding the acceptance and recycling of the parts.
Gonzales Brothers could not be reached for comment. The suit seeks an injunction against Gonzales Brothers and Kinsbursky Brothers prohibiting further illegal operations and claims civil penalties up to $2,500 for each violation.