84.8 F
Ocala
Wednesday, September 21, 2022

Auto repair shop owner accused of illegally purchasing catalytic converters

The 57-year-old owner of a local auto repair shop was arrested by the Ocala Police Department after he was accused of illegally purchasing catalytic converters.

On Wednesday, September 14, OPD’s Investigations Services Bureau conducted an undercover special operation to counter the illegal purchases of catalytic converters, according to a social media post from OPD.

In that post, OPD stated, “Since the beginning of this year, we’ve seen an increase in catalytic converter thefts occurring in Ocala. The thieves are going after the parts because they contain precious metals that can be sold at high prices.”

“Additionally, it takes only a few seconds for a thief to cut it from a vehicle and take off long before the vehicle owner ever notices, making it difficult for law enforcement to catch the criminals,” added OPD.

During the special operation, OPD targeted several auto repair shops in Ocala, including several shops that had a secondary metal recycler license.

An undercover OPD officer traveled to J&S Enterprises, which is located at 1211 NW 10th Street. The officer approached the shop’s owner, identified as Jessie Samaroo, who is also a licensed secondary metals recycler.

Jessie Samaroo
Jessie Samaroo

According to OPD, the undercover officer attempted to sell two catalytic converters to Samaroo. The undercover officer told Samaroo that the catalytic converters were received “from a friend.”

OPD states that Samaroo and the officer made a deal on the price. Samaroo then “purchased the catalytic converters illegally with cash.”

Under Florida law, a secondary metals recycler cannot accept cash for a catalytic converter. In addition, a secondary metals recycler must verify that the seller is the owner of the catalytic converter or is authorized to sell it, and a paper and electronic record of all catalytic converter purchase transactions must be maintained.

Samaroo was arrested, transported to Marion County Jail, and he was later released on $6,000 bond. As a licensed secondary metals recycler, Samaroo is facing felony charges for violating the payment method, failing to verify proof of address, and failing to maintain the required records.

A court date has not been scheduled yet, according to jail records.