RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) –The Department of Justice (DOJ) is cracking down on catalytic converter thefts in nine states, including Virginia. 8News spoke with local victims of such thefts to see how they felt about the coordinated takedown of a nationwide network of criminals.

The network of criminals who are believed to have processed over $545 million worth of components from stolen catalytic converters.

Jackson Wright, a Richmond resident, told 8News that he wasn’t surprised by the news that an organized group had been behind many of the thefts.

“It’s not like a huge surprise just considering the volume of thefts I heard about across the country,” Wright said.

Wright said his own catalytic converter was stolen recently.

“I drove all the way home my car was perfectly fine no issues,” he said. “Woke up Friday morning for work and turned on my car and it sounded like a Boeing 747. It was so loud.”

It was in September when Wright’s catalytic converter was stolen from his car. He said the process to get it back was frustrating.

“It’s a little devastating. Like, ‘how am I going to get to work today?'” Wright said. “The whole process took maybe a month.”

Wright was just one of many who have had to go through this process.

“Well, it was just a few weeks ago when Richmond reported a total of 592 catalytic converter thefts this year alone,” he said. “That also includes Wright’s Prius.”

8News also reported last month that Henrico had 683 thefts between Jan. 1 and Sept. 30, while Chesterfield had reported 304.

FBI Richmond refused to comment on how many of the criminal network’s thefts happened in our region, but the Emporia Police Department said they had assisted in the investigation and executed a search warrant of a local business on Tuesday.

According to the United States Department of Justice, 21 people involved in the network were charged in two separate indictments, one in the Eastern District of California and the other in the Northern District of Oklahoma.

Wright said he hopes that this nationwide takedown will help in the future deterrence of catalytic converter thefts.

“I hope it’s impactful and people stop stealing converters,” Wright said.