Deputies: 3 South Florida men caught with 13 catalytic converters in trunk of stolen car

FLAGLER COUNTY, Fla. — Three South Florida men are facing a long list of charges after deputies say they were caught in a stolen car with a trunk full of catalytic converters.


The investigation began Wednesday when Flagler County deputies were alerted to a car traveling along Palm Coast Parkway that had been reported stolen from Osceola County more than a week earlier.

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Deputies say the car was traveling eastbound in the westbound lanes of Palm Coast Parkway with no headlights on.

Deputies used stop sticks to flatten two of the car’s tires near Belle Terre Parkway but it was able to continue fleeing onto I-95 at high speeds.

According to the Sheriff’s Office, deputies continued following the car from a safe distance southbound on I-95 until it became disabled and came to a stop near the Flagler/Volusia County line.

The three occupants were taken into custody without further incident.

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After searching the car, deputies say they found a New York license plate from another vehicle that had been reported stolen out of Palm Beach County on Dec. 1.

Deputies say they also found 13 catalytic converters in the trunk as well as the tools commonly used to steal them. According to the sheriff’s office, one of the converters was stolen just before deputies made contact with the suspects.

The driver, identified as 18-year-old Shancello Gazich of Port Saint Lucie, was arrested on a long list of charges including grand theft from a vehicle, possession of burglary tools with intent, possession of drug paraphernalia, reckless driving, and fleeing and eluding.

Gazich is being held in the Flagler County jail on a total of $46,500 bond.

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His two passengers, identified as 19-year-old Michael Antunez and 25-year-old Franko Louis- both from Miami- face charges of criminal mischief, possession of burglary tools with intent, grand theft from a vehicle, burglary, and petit theft from a vehicle. They were booked into the Flagler County jail and have since been released after posting $10,500 bond each.

“The theft of catalytic converters is a nationwide problem involving criminals that know no boundaries,” Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staley said in a statement. “These three dirt-bags from South Florida thought they could successfully commit crime in Flagler County without getting caught…I commend our deputies for another outstanding job and safely apprehending them.”

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