Day: November 2, 2022

Raids In New Jersey As Law Enforcement Takes Down Nationwide Network Of Catalytic Converter Thieves, Dealers And Processors For Roles In Conspiracies Involving Stolen Catalytic Converters Sold For Tens Of Millions Of Dollars

FBI and HSI Police swarmed Blacey’s U-Pick Auto Parts “We Buy Scrap” at 242 Monmouth Rd, in North Hanover Township, Burlington County, just outside of New Egypt, NJ today. Multiple pallets of what appeared to be catalytic converters marked as evidence and hauled away.

Navin Khanna, 39, of Holmdel, New Jersey charged in connection with Oklahoma Case.

Navin Khanna, aka Lovin Khanna, 39; Tinu Khanna, aka Gagan Khanna, 35; Daniel Dolan, 44; Chi Mo, aka David Mo, 37; Wright Louis Mosley, 50; and Ishu Lakra, 24, all of New Jersey, charged in California Case.

Midjersey.News Update Here:

November 2, 2022

Federal, state, and local law enforcement partners from across the United States executed a nationwide, coordinated takedown today of leaders and associates of a national network of thieves, dealers, and processors for their roles in conspiracies involving stolen catalytic converters sold to a metal refinery for tens of millions of dollars.

Arrests, searches, and seizures took place in California, Oklahoma, Wyoming, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Nevada, North Carolina, and Virginia. In total, 21 individuals in five states have been arrested and/or charged for their roles in the conspiracy.

The 21 defendants are charged in two separate indictments that were unsealed today in the Eastern District of California and the Northern District of Oklahoma following extensive law enforcement arrest and search operations. In addition to the indictments, over 32 search warrants were executed, and law enforcement seized millions of dollars in assets, including homes, bank accounts, cash, and luxury vehicles.

“Amidst a rise in catalytic converter thefts across the country, the Justice Department has today carried out an operation arresting 21 defendants and executing 32 search warrants in a nation-wide takedown of a multimillion-dollar catalytic converter theft network,” said Attorney General Merrick B. Garland. “We will continue to work alongside our state and local partners to disrupt criminal conspiracies like this one that target the American people.”

“This national network of criminals hurt victims across the country,” said FBI Director Christopher Wray. “They made hundreds of millions of dollars in the process—on the backs of thousands of innocent car owners. Today’s charges showcase how the FBI and its partners act together to stop crimes that hurt all too many Americans.”

“With California’s higher emission standards, our community has become a hot bed for catalytic converter theft,” said U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert for the Eastern District of California. “Last year approximately 1,600 catalytic converters were reportedly stolen in California each month, and California accounts for 37% of all catalytic converter theft claims nationwide. I am proud to announce that we have indicted nine people who are at the core of catalytic theft in our community and nationwide.”

“In Tulsa alone, more than 2,000 catalytic converters were stolen in the past year,” said U.S. Attorney Clint Johnson for the Northern District of Oklahoma. “Organized criminal activity, including the large-scale theft of catalytic converters, is costly to victims and too often places citizens and law enforcement in danger. The collective work conducted by federal prosecutors and more than 10 different law enforcement agencies led to the filing of charges in the Northern District of Oklahoma against 13 defendants operating an alleged catalytic converter theft operation.”

“The success of this national takedown highlights the importance and necessity of dynamic law enforcement partnerships that we foster at DHS every single day,” said Deputy Secretary John K. Tien of the Department of Homeland Security. “This calculated, cooperative whole-of-government approach across multiple states illustrates our commitment to protecting the homeland from those who seek to profit from sophisticated schemes. Homeland Security Investigations [HSI] will continue to focus its efforts on keeping these types of criminal elements off our streets while dismantling the groups behind these and other thefts.”

“Just like the precious metal inside every catalytic converter, there’s a money trail at the core of every criminal scheme,” said Chief Jim Lee of the IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI). “Our IRS-CI special agents and partners are incredibly well-versed at unraveling financial trails, and this case is not unique. There are real victims here – friends, neighbors, and businesses – and our hope is that today’s arrests will deter similar criminal activity.” 

Catalytic Converters

Catalytic converters are a component of an automotive vehicle’s exhaust device that reduce the toxic gas and pollutants from a vehicle’s internal combustion engine into safe emissions. Catalytic converters use precious metals in their center, or “core,” and are regularly targeted for theft due to the high value of these metals, especially the precious metals palladium, platinum, and rhodium. Some of these precious metals are more valuable per ounce than gold and their value has been increasing in recent years. The black-market price for catalytic converters can be above $1,000 each, depending on the type of vehicle and what state it is from. They can be stolen in less than a minute. Additionally, catalytic converters often lack unique serial numbers, VIN information, or other distinctive identification features, making them difficult to trace to their lawful owner. Thus, the theft of catalytic converters has become increasingly popular because of their value, relative ease to steal, and their lack of identifying markings.

Photos of “Operation Heavy Metal” provided by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI)

Eastern District of California Case

A federal grand jury in the Eastern District of California returned a 40‑count indictment charging nine defendants with conspiracy to transport stolen catalytic converters, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and other related charges.

According to court documents, Tou Sue Vang, 31, and Andrew Vang, 27, and Monica Moua, 51, all of Sacramento, California, allegedly operated an unlicensed business from their personal residence in Sacramento where they bought stolen catalytic converters from local thieves and shipped them to DG Auto Parts LLC (DG Auto) in New Jersey for processing. The defendants allegedly sold over $38 million in stolen catalytic converters to DG Auto.

Defendants Navin Khanna, aka Lovin Khanna, 39; Tinu Khanna, aka Gagan Khanna, 35; Daniel Dolan, 44; Chi Mo, aka David Mo, 37; Wright Louis Mosley, 50; and Ishu Lakra, 24, all of New Jersey, operated DG Auto in multiple locations in New Jersey. They knowingly purchased stolen catalytic converters and, through a “de-canning” process, extracted the precious metal powders from the catalytic core. DG Auto sold the precious metal powders it processed from California and elsewhere to a metal refinery for over $545 million.

“This national takedown exemplifies the complexities of organized criminal operations and stresses the importance of law enforcement collaboration to identify and disrupt all facets of a criminal enterprise,” explained Special Agent in Charge Sean Ragan of the FBI Sacramento Field Office. “This case demonstrates how investigations often evolve to expose the higher level organizations that fuel street-level crime.  While catalytic converter thefts are a significant and pervasive challenge for local law enforcement agencies, these street-level crimes often benefit larger criminal networks.  Organized crime must be addressed comprehensively and collaboratively to disrupt these networks and reduce crime in our communities.  We are grateful for the commitment and partnership of our local, state, and federal law enforcement colleagues who worked tirelessly to ensure this criminal enterprise was effectively disrupted.”

Northern District of Oklahoma Case

A federal grand jury in the Northern District of Oklahomareturned a 40‑count indictment charging 13 defendants with conspiracy to receive stolen catalytic converters, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and other related charges.

According to court documents, together the defendants bought stolen catalytic converters from thieves on the street, then re-sold and shipped them to DG Auto in New Jersey for processing. Over the course of the conspiracy, defendant Tyler James Curtis received over $13 million in wired funds from DG Auto for the shipment of catalytic converters and received over $500,000 from Capital Cores for catalytic converters. Defendant Adam G. Sharkey received over $45 million in wired funds from DG Auto. And defendant Martynas Macerauskas received over $6 million in payments from DG Auto for catalytic converters. In all these incidents, most of the catalytic converters sold to DG Auto were stolen, and DG Auto knew or should have known that when they paid for them. 

The 13 defendants are Navin Khanna, 39, of Holmdel, New Jersey; Adam Sharkey, 26, of West Islip, New York; Robert Gary Sharkey, 57, of Babylon, New York; Tyler James Curtis, 26, of Wagoner, Oklahoma; Benjamin Robert Mansour, 24, of Bixby, Oklahoma; Reiss Nicole Biby, 24, of Wagoner, Oklahoma; Martynas Macerauskas, 28, of Leila Lake, Texas; Kristina McKay Macerauskas, 21, of Leila Lake, Texas; Parker Star Weavel, 25, of Tahlequah, Oklahoma; Shane Allen Minnick, 26, of Haskell, Oklahoma; Ryan David LaRue 29, of Broken Bow, Oklahoma; Brian Pate Thomas, 25, of Choteau, Oklahoma; and Michael Anthony Rhoden, 26, of Keifer, Oklahoma.

Trial Attorney Danbee C. Kim of the Criminal Division’s Organized Crime and Gang Section, Assistant U.S. Attorney Veronica M.A. Alegría for the Eastern District of California, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Reagan Reininger and David Nasar for the Northern District of Oklahoma are prosecuting the cases.

The FBI Sacramento, IRS-CI Sacramento, HSI Tulsa, and IRS-CI Tulsa are investigating the cases.

FBI Las Vegas (NV), FBI Richmond (VA), FBI Charlotte (NC), FBI Newark (NJ), FBI Dallas (TX), HSI Dallas (TX), HSI Houston (TX), HSI Amarillo (TX), HSI St. Paul (MN), HSI Long Island (NY), HSI Newark (NJ), IRS-CI Chicago Field Office (IL), IRS-CI Oakland Field Office (CA), IRS-CI Dallas Field Office (TX), IRS-CI Newark Field Office (NJ), Tulsa Police Department (OK), Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office (OK), Oklahoma Highway Patrol (OK), Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office (OK), Wagoner County Sheriff’s Office (OK), Houston Police Department (TX), Amarillo Police Department (TX), Broken Arrow Police Department (OK), Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department (CA), Sacramento Police Department (CA), Davis Police Department (CA), Auburn Police Department (CA), Livermore Police Department (CA), San Bernardino County Sherriff’s Department (CA), Customs and Border Protection (NJ), Port Authority Police Department of New York and New Jersey (NY; NJ), Hudson County Sheriff’s Office (NJ), Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office (NJ), Monmouth County Sheriff’s Office (NJ), Morris Township Police Department (NJ), Springfield Police Department (NJ), New Jersey State Police (NJ), Union County Prosecutor’s Office (NJ), Port Authority of NY & NJ (NY; NJ), Howell Police Department (NJ), Warren Township Police Department (NJ), Freehold Borough Police Department (NJ), Middletown Police Department (NJ), Marlboro Police Department (NJ), Manalapan Police Department (NJ), Ocean County Sheriff’s Office (NJ), Burlington Police Department (NJ), Willingboro Police Department (NJ), Waterfront Commission of NY Harbor (NY), Nassau County Police Department (NY), Suffolk County Police Department (NY), Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department (NV), Greensville County Sheriff’s Office (VA), Emporia Police Department (VA), Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office (VA), Halifax County Sheriff’s Office (NC), Saint Paul Police Department (MN), Minnesota Commerce Fraud Bureau (MN), Blaine Police Department (MN), McLeod County Sheriff’s Office (MN), Anoka County Sheriff’s Office (MN), Carver County Sheriff’s Office (MN), Roseville Police Department (MN), Plymouth Police Department (MN), Bloomington Police Department (MN), Eagan Police Department (MN), Woodbury Police Department (MN), Brown County Sheriff’s Office (MN), Brooklyn Park Police Department (MN), Fridley Police Department (MN), Mendota Heights Police Department (MN), Chaska Police Department (MN), and Coon Rapids Police Department (MN) provided assistance.

An indictment is merely an allegation. All defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

The scene this afternoon at Blacey’s U-Pick Auto Parts “We Buy Scrap” at 242 Monmouth Rd, in North Hanover Township. Evidence technicians from the FBI and HSI Police (Homeland Security Police) can be seen removing many pallets of what appeared to be catalectic converters and placed them in multiple panel trucks before being hauled away. It is unclear if or how Blacey’s is connected to any of the above cases all we know for sure is that FBI Agents and HSI Pollice were seen swarming the building today.

The scene this afternoon at Blacey’s U-Pick Auto Parts “We Buy Scrap” at 242 Monmouth Rd, in North Hanover Township. Evidence technicians from the FBI and HSI Police (Homeland Security Police) can be seen removing many pallets of what appeared to be catalectic converters and placed them in multiple panel trucks before being hauled away. It is unclear if or how Blacey’s is connected to any of the above cases all we know for sure is that FBI Agents and HSI Pollice were seen swarming the building today.

Mom Struck By Vehicle Sent To Hospital; Hamilton Police Officers Help Her Two Children Continue Trick-Or-Treating On Halloween

November 2, 2022

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–On Monday, October 31, 2022, at approximately 7:13 p.m., Hamilton Police were dispatched to the area of West Park Avenue and Lafayette Avenue on a report of a pedestrian struck.  The female pedestrian was out with her two children trick or treating when she was struck by the vehicle.  Her injuries were not life threatening and she was taken to Robert Wood Johnson Hospital for further evaluation.  While on scene waiting for transport for the children back to their residence Officer Alex Zuzzio with assistance from Officer Sean Dorney and Sergeant Ed Lugo, decided to walk the two children around the neighborhood to go trick or treating until a vehicle with car seats was able to come to the scene and take them back to their residence.

Coldwell Banker Realty Celebrates Grand Opening for First Phase at New Manalapan Active Adult 55+ Community

November 2, 2022

Manalapan, N.J. (November 2, 2022) – The Alan Kurlander Group from Coldwell Banker Realty’s Marlboro/Manalapan office Coldwell Banker Realty New Homes, a leading sales and marketing organization in the homebuilding industry, celebrated the grand opening of the first phase at Four Seasons at Manalapan Crossing, a new active adult 55+ community from K. Hovnanian in Manalapan, N.J. Coldwell Banker Realty New Homes and the Alan Kurlander Group have been selected to serve as the exclusive Realtor MLS listing agent and Realtor liaison on behalf of K. Hovnanian to create and implement a marketing strategy targeted at the Realtor community to support sales for the 280-home community.

Four Seasons at Manalapan Crossing features a range of single-family home designs starting at $769,990 that are meticulously designed to provide homeowners with contemporary floorplans and on-trend finish selections, where they can enjoy low-maintenance living surrounded by exciting local excursions in Monmouth County. Beyond their homes, residents will also enjoy a robust amenities package beyond their homes, including bocce and tennis courts, walking trails, open space, and a community clubhouse with a pool.

Four Seasons at Manalapan Crossing marks the next chapter in K. Hovnanian’s decades-long relationship with the Alan Kurlander Group and Coldwell Banker Realty New Homes. Since 1996, Kurlander has served as K. Hovnanian’s trusted Realtor outreach expert helping the company sell hundreds of homes in dozens of communities across Middlesex, Monmouth, and Ocean Counties. Throughout his time working with K. Hovnanian, Kurlander has tapped Coldwell Banker Realty New Homes’ highly experienced team to leverage their unmatched business intelligence and marketing tools to drive success at each community.

“The K. Hovnanian name has long been synonymous with high-quality, timeless homes paired with unmatched customer satisfaction,” said Kurlander. “Every aspect of Four Seasons at Manalapan Crossing echoes this legacy, and I am deeply honored to work with them and the Coldwell Banker Realty New Homes team to show potential residents all that Four Seasons at Manalapan Crossing offers.”

Coldwell Banker Realty New Homes partners with real estate developers and realtors through every step of the real estate marketing process to drive successful sales and leasing efforts at new residential properties.

Residents at Four Seasons at Manalapan Crossing will also enjoy an unmatched location in the heart of Monmouth County. The community’s location along Route 33 affords easy access to the top destinations at the Jersey Shore and nearby attractions. The community is also favorably located equidistant between New York City and Philadelphia which are just an hour’s drive away.

Four Seasons at Manalapan Crossing model home tours are available by appointment only. For more information, Realtors and buyers should contact Alan Kurlander at (732) 284-6302.

Trenton MOVES Wins State Transportation Award

Autonomous vehicle program receives ITSNJ Outstanding Project Award for Local Public Agency Design

November 2, 2022

TRENTON, NJ (MERCER)–The Intelligent Transportation Society of New Jersey (ITSNJ) awarded the City of Trenton with the ITSNJ 2022 Outstanding Project or Program in the Local Public Agency Design category for the City’s “Trenton Mobility and Opportunity: Vehicles Equity System (MOVES)” project.

Trenton MOVES is the result of a successful partnership between The City, Princeton University, the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT), and the Office of the Governor; it seeks to expand affordable and efficient transportation options for those living and working in the Capital City through the strategic deployment of autonomous electric vehicles (A-EVs).

Trenton MOVES is on track to be the nation’s first autonomous vehicle-based urban transit system and is the recipient of a $5 million NJDOT grant from the Local Transportation Project Fund.

Dr. Alain Kornhauser, Professor of Operations Research and Financial Engineering and Director of the Program in Transportation at Princeton University, has provided technical support to government stakeholders.

“The Capital City has an opportunity to make transportation history with Trenton MOVES,” Dr. Kornhauser said. “This award should signal additional investment into Trenton that will support community and economic revitalization.”

In Trenton, over 70% of households have only one car — or no car at all. Given the current local, county, and state public transportation infrastructure, moving throughout the City can be difficult (for public transport users) and/or expensive (for ride-sharing program users). Access to cost-effective and efficient transportation options can expand employment opportunities, increase the volume of commercial transactions, and improve health outcomes.

As an organization, ITSNJ is committed to fostering innovation in safe, smart, and sustainable transportation to improve the quality of life for residents throughout New Jersey.

“Trenton MOVES embodies the vision of ITSNJ,” said ITSNJ President Andrew Tunnard (pictured on the right in photo above). “The Capital City recognizes that economic and health outcomes are connected to transportation access, so the Mayor is working with intergovernmental partners to improve the quality of life for residents through transportation innovation.”

Given the City of Trenton’s large number of tax-exempt properties, there is insufficient capital to finance a public ridesharing program; however, a public-private partnership will allow the City to provide long-term sustainability for the project.

“This award recognizes our administration’s goal of improving the lives of Trentonians through an innovative and collaborative transportation initiative,” Mayor W. Reed Gusciora said. “Trenton moves and the world approves.”

Perceived Outside Threat Puts Nottingham HS and Crocket Middle Schools In Lockdown; Police Deemed Threat Not Credible

November 2, 2022

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER)–In a letter addressed to the Hamilton Township School District Community, Superintendent Dr. Scott Rocco, stated that there was a perceived threat observed near Nottingham High School where a male was seen with a weapon. The Hamilton Township Police Department was notified, and Nottingham High School and Crockett Middle School were placed into lockdown. There was no direct threat to either school, but the district took immediate action to ensure the safety of students and staff. Once Hamilton Township Police completed their investigation both schools were reopened and returned to their normal schedules. The Hamilton Police Department has deemed this report to not be credible.

UPDATE from Hamilton Police Department:

On Wednesday, November 2, 2022, at approximately 8:23 a.m., Hamilton Police were dispatched to the area of Nottingham High School, 1055 Klockner Avenue, on a report of a male walking toward the High School with a weapon.  Nottingham High School was put on lock down and Crockett Middle School was put on a shelter in place.  Further investigation proved the report to be unfounded and the threat was not deemed credible.  Both schools were released from their lock down/shelter in place status.

Anyone with any information regarding this incident is asked to contact Detective Stacy Pollard of the Hamilton Police Division Juvenile Unit at (609) 581-4026 or the Hamilton Police Crime Tip Hotline at (609) 581-4008.

November 2, 2021

Dear HTSD Community,

Today, a concerned citizen identified an individual outside of one of our schools who may have been a perceived threat. Specifically, a male individual was observed walking on the street with a weapon near Nottingham High School. This was reported to our Hamilton Township Police Department. We immediately put our school security procedures in place based on the information that was available at the time. This meant that both Nottingham High School and Crockett Middle Schools were put into lockdown.  Although there was not a direct threat to either school, the police department and our district took immediate action to ensure the safety of our students and staff.

As the police department investigated the specific issue at Nottingham High School, we transitioned Crockett Middle School to a shelter-in-place. Once the police completed their investigation inside of the building at Nottingham High School, both buildings were released to return to their normal schedule.

Although this is stressful and scary for our students, staff, and parents, I want to reiterate two key points. First, at no time was there a direct threat to any student or staff member at our schools. The Hamilton Police Department has deemed this report to not be credible. Two, we consistently tell our school community that when they see something to say something. In this case, the citizen saw something and did what we asked them to do. I appreciate that person’s efforts to keep our children and staff safe.

Finally, I would like to thank our students, faculty, staff, and administration at both buildings for their swift action in following our emergency procedures. In addition, I want to express my appreciation to the Hamilton Township Police Department for their immediate response and efforts. Multiple officers responded to both schools and made sure everyone in our schools were safe.


                                                                        Scott Rocco

Scott R. Rocco, Ed.D.


Dump Truck Crash Closes Route 526 In Upper Freehold Township

County Road 526 is closed between Allentown and Sharon Station Road due to electrical wires down on the roadway.

November 2, 2022

UPPER FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP, NJ (MONMOUTH)–A dump truck traveling east on County Road 526 just prior to 7:30 a.m. lost control, hit a utility pole and ran off the roadway into a wooded area. Upper Freehold Township – Hope Fire Company firefighters responded to the crash at 7:29 a.m. and upon arrival it was determined that the driver was able to self-extricate and no injuries were reported. Live electrical wires from the broken utility pole were in the roadway closing the roadway. NJ State Police closed Route 526 from Allentown at the 526 Bypass (by firehouse) to Sharon Station Road. Plan alternate routes until utility pole repairs are made.