An undercover sting operation aimed at curbing illegal purchases of catalytic converters — and hopefully reducing the thefts of them from cars — recently netted four arrests, officials said.
Mirsad Nuhanovic, 18, of Lawrenceville; Adin Hasikic, 21, of Grayson; Semco Beganovic, 23, of Lawrenceville; and Eniz Salkic, 28, of Grayson were charged as part of Operation Cat Call, which began after the Gwinnett County Police Department’s Metal Theft Unit noticed an increasing number of advertisements on social media of buyers looking to purchase the converters for cash.
“Over the last several months, Gwinnett County has seen an increase in the number of catalytic converters being stolen from vehicles. The cost to repair a victim’s vehicle can be in excess of $1,000,” a department news release said. “The ability to obtain quick cash for the converters is part of the reason for the increase in thefts.”
Officers from the Metal Theft Unit, Special Investigations Sections, east precinct, and the Gwinnett County Solicitor’s Office “devised a plan to respond to these ads in hopes of reducing the number of thefts and property damage in the community,” police said.
Nuhanovic, Hasikic, Beganovic and Salkic met with an undercover officer and purchased the converters with cash, the release said.
“The suspects did not properly document the sale or obtain the identification of the seller as required by Georgia Law,” the release said. “All four were arrested and transported to the Gwinnett County Jail.”
Since the arrests, officers have seen “several” of the ads disappear from social media, police said.
“Several of the buyers began to notify the undercover officer that (they) needed the required documentation according to the law,” the release said. “This indicated that word of the arrests had spread through the recycler community.”
The men have all since bonded out of jail.