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Police find 1,200 catalytic converters in Phoenix storage unit

The bust was part of a months-long investigation into a suspect accused of buying and selling the used and detached car parts.

PHOENIX — More than 1,200 catalytic converters were found Thursday in a storage unit near Sky Harbor International Airport, the Pheonix Police Department said. 

The bust was part of a months-long investigation into a suspect accused of buying and selling the used and detached car parts and possessing a significant number of catalytic converters. 

"The vast majority of these parts are believed to be stolen," the department said in a news release. "Many of them had fresh cuts [indicating] they had been removed from vehicles."

The catalytic converters were found in a storage unit on E Washington Street while officers were serving a search warrant, the department said. 

Police said one suspect, identified as 48-year-old Shelton Ford, is in custody. 

EN ESPAÑOL: Policía encuentra 1,000 convertidores catalíticos en una unidad de almacén en Phoenix

Police said this was the largest recovery of catalytic converters in department history. The recovered converters are worth about $100,000. 

Catalytic converter thefts are on the rise. Phoenix police in March said criminals were stealing hundreds of converters every month.

RELATED: Valley police departments see a rise in catalytic converter thefts

Despite the valuable minerals inside, catalytic converters have nothing on them to track back to cars. Without that, police struggle to prove if a convertor was stolen.

Silent Witness:

Arizona's Silent Witness program allows people to send in tips and share information about crimes happening within their local communities.

The program shares unsolved felony case information in multiple ways, including TV, radio and social media.

Anyone who has information on a crime or recognizes a suspect described by the program is asked to call 480-948-6377, go to the program's website online or download the Silent Witness app to provide a tip. The identity of anyone who submits a tip is kept anonymous.

Calls to Silent Witness are answered 24/7 by a live person and submitted tips are accepted at all times. Submitted tips are then sent to the detective(s) in charge of the specific case.

Individuals who submit tips that lead to an arrest or indictment in the case can get a reward of up to $1,000. Have a tip? Submit it on the Silent Witness tip form here.

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