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Press Release

New Haven Man Sentenced to Prison for Stealing and Selling Catalytic Converters

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Connecticut

Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, announced that MICHAEL ALMODOVAR, also known as “Eme ElColorado,” 31, of New Haven, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Sarala V. Nagala in Hartford to 14 months of imprisonment, followed by three years of supervised release, for his participation in a stolen catalytic converter trafficking ring.

According to court documents and statements made in court, law enforcement has been investigating the theft of catalytic converters from motor vehicles across Connecticut.  A catalytic converter contains precious metals, can easily be removed from its vehicle, and is difficult to trace, making it a desirable target for thieves.  The average scrap price for catalytic converters currently varies between $300 and $1,500, depending on the model and type of precious metal component.

The investigation revealed that Downpipe Depot & Recycling LLC (“Downpipe Depot”), which had a warehouse on Park Avenue in East Hartford, purchased stolen catalytic converters from a network of thieves, including Almodovar, and then transported and sold the catalytic converters to recycling businesses in New York and New Jersey.

Business records seized during the investigation revealed that, between March 2022 and May 2022, Downpipe Depot paid Almodovar $34,445 for catalytic converters.  In one incident, while Almodovar was in the process of stealing a catalytic converter from a car in a parking lot in Milford, he was interrupted by a witness who used his cellphone take pictures of Almodovar.  Almodovar attacked the witness, smashed his car window, cut him with the saw he used to steal the converter, and then fled.  The next day, Almodovar sold six converters to Downpipe Depot in exchange for $2,180.

Almodovar was arrested on November 28, 2023.  On March 27, 2024, he pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit interstate transportation of stolen property, and interstate transportation of stolen property.

This investigation is being led by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CI), and the East Hartford Police Department.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lauren C. Clark and A. Reed Durham.

Updated July 10, 2024

Topic
Violent Crime