East Alton scrap-metal dealer closes after 287 catalytic converters seized by investigators

A sting of the since-shuttered business uncovered 287 converters waiting to be scrapped.


EAST ALTON, Ill. — Days after being raided by local law enforcement, the owner of a Metro East scrap yard has closed his business.

The raid happened in Madison County – near East Alton and Wood River. The sign outside of Summit Processors says it’s closed for business due to a retirement, but it doesn’t mention that just a few days ago the business was raided by agents from the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office.

The town of Wood River has a population of just more than 10,000, and Police Chief Brad Wells said his community isn’t immune to a nationwide issue.

“A lot of calls we get are delayed thefts,” he said. “You may have an RV, or somebody who parks a vehicle and doesn’t use it all of the time, that the catalytic converter will get taken off the vehicle.”

During a recent traffic stop, they received a tip that things may not be on the up and up at a local scrap yard.

“The scrap yard wasn’t filling out the proper paperwork when someone would take a catalytic in there,” Wells said.

Though there’s no law against scrapping a catalytic converter.

“You’ve got to have ID, you have to show proof of ownership of the vehicle it came off of, and you have to take photographs of the person while they’re there and those things weren’t being followed,” he said.

A sting of the since-shuttered business uncovered 287 converters waiting to be scrapped.

“If they’re not going to follow the rules it’s probably better that they are shut down,” he said.

Though it’s still unclear how many, if any, of the converters might be stolen…Wells says it’s unlikely they ever find their way back to their original owner.

“Unless they had a specific identification on that converter, some sort of marking or drivers license number, or something like that engraved on there, it’s going to be difficult to determine whether or not it’s the one that specifically came off their vehicle,” Wells said.

The employee who bought 3 converters from undercover officers is facing misdemeanor charges.


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