Springfield Man Pleads Guilty to Organized Theft
In another significant development involving one of New England’s largest catalytic converter theft rings, Zachary Marshall, a 25-year-old man from Springfield, pleaded guilty in federal court in Boston for his involvement in the regional organized theft crew. The crew is accused of stealing catalytic converters from over 490 vehicles, as well as from ATMs and jewelry stores. Marshall pleaded guilty to conspiracy to transport stolen property in interstate commerce and interstate transportation of stolen property.
Sentencing has been scheduled for February 7, 2024, by U.S. District Court Judge Leo T. Sorokin.
Theft crew responsible for an estimated $2 million in losses across Massachusetts and New Hampshire during 2022 and 2023
Marshall was part of a seven-member crew arrested on April 12, 2023, for offenses related to the theft, transportation, and sale of stolen catalytic converters. The crew, allegedly led by Rafael Davila, is believed to have stolen catalytic converters from at least 492 vehicles across Massachusetts and New Hampshire in 2022 and 2023. Authorities suspect that many more thefts have not been identified or reported.
The crew demonstrated a high level of skill and efficiency, often using battery-operated power tools and car jacks to locate and remove the catalytic converters within a minute. On several occasions, the defendants targeted more than 10 vehicles in a single night, with one night reporting thefts from 26 vehicles.
Marshall admitted to participating in the theft of catalytic converters from 107 vehicles over 10 separate instances between January 19, 2023, and April 6, 2023. The stolen catalytic converters were then sold to Jose Torres, who accumulated stolen catalytic converters from multiple theft crews and sold them to scrap dealers in the Northeast, transacting approximately $30,000 to $80,000 in stolen catalytic converters per week.
In addition to the catalytic converter thefts, Marshall also admitted to breaking into a self-storage facility in Northborough, MA, on February 2, 2023, with Rafael Davila. During this break-in, Davila and Marshall stole items from storage units and a truck containing approximately $13,000 worth of Milwaukee brand power tools. A high-speed chase ensued that evening, reaching speeds upwards of 120 mph.
Fifth crew member to plead guilty
In addition to Marshall, five other members of the crew have also pleaded guilty to their roles in the conspiracy. Torres pleaded guilty on May 17, 2023, and is scheduled to be sentenced on December 14, 2023. Alex Oyola pleaded guilty to the ATM and jewelry store burglaries on May 24, 2023, and will be sentenced at a later date. On March 13, 2023, Nicolas Davila pleaded guilty and is scheduled to be sentenced on January 9, 2024. Santo Feliberty pleaded guilty on October 19, 2023, and is scheduled to be sentenced on January 31, 2023. Charges against Rafael Davila are still pending.
Charges entail both prison time and fines of up to $250,0000
The charge of conspiracy to transport stolen property in interstate commerce provides for a sentence of up to five years in prison, up to three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. The charges of interstate transportation of stolen property each provide for a sentence of up to 10 years, up to three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.
The charge of conspiracy to commit bank theft provides for a sentence of up to five years in prison, up to three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. The charges of bank theft provides for a sentence of up to 10 years, up to three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000. The charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition provides for up to 10 years, up to three years of supervised release and a fine of up to $250,000.
Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and statutes which govern the determination of a sentence in a criminal case.
Catalytic converter thefts are a national problem
Catalytic converter theft has become a nationwide problem across a multitude of state, local, and federal jurisdictions due to the high-valued precious metals they contain – some of which are more valuable than gold, with black-market prices being more than $1,000 each in recent years. The theft of a vehicle’s catalytic converter results in damage that renders the vehicle inoperable – both mechanically and legally under EPA regulations – until properly replaced.