Brown County man arrested in connection to national catalytic converter theft ring

A Brown County man was arrested Wednesday in connection with a national catalytic converter theft ring.

John Charles Kotten, 40, was taken into custody without incident on state charges of stolen property.  Investigators say Kotten was present when two stolen vehicles were discovered at a federal search warrant location.

The Sleepy Eye Police Department and Brown County Sheriff’s Office executed multiple search warrants leading up to Kotten’s arrest, which was a part of a national, coordinated effort by federal, state, and local agencies.

The U.S. Justice Department described the operation as a “takedown,” of a national network of thieves, dealers, and processors involved in selling stolen catalytic converters to a metal refiner for tens of millions of dollars.

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