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Press Release

Member of Catalytic Converter Crew Sentenced to Nearly Four Years in Federal Prison

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts
Theft crew allegedly responsible for an estimated $2 million in losses across Massachusetts and New Hampshire during 2022 and 2023

BOSTON – A Springfield man was sentenced yesterday in federal court in Boston for his role in a regional organized theft crew that stole catalytic converters from over 490 vehicles. It is alleged that the crew also stole from ATMs and jewelry stores.

Zachary Marshall, 26, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Leo T. Sorokin to 47 months in federal prison to be followed by three years of supervised release. In November 2023, Marshall pleaded guilty to conspiracy to transport stolen property in interstate commerce and interstate transportation of stolen property. 

In April 2023, Marshall was arrested and charged along with six others in connection with the theft, transportation and sale of stolen catalytic converters taken from at least 496 vehicles across Massachusetts and New Hampshire in 2022 through April 2023 alone. It is believed that a significant number of additional thefts have not been identified or were not ever reported to law enforcement. 

Marshall participated in thefts of catalytic converters from 100 vehicles over the course of 10 separate instances between Jan. 19, 2023 and April 6, 2023 – most of which targeted vehicles in more than one municipality over the course of a single night.

According to court filings, there has been a precipitous decline in catalytic converter thefts reported in Massachusetts as a result of the April 2023 takedown – with only seven reported incidents of catalytic converter theft over the past 12 months following the arrests, in comparison to the hundreds of thefts reported during the nine-month period prior. 

Catalytic converter theft has become a nationwide problem 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 thefts in this case resulted in losses of approximately $5,000 per vehicle with certain trucks costing over $10,000 to repair. This amounts to an approximate $2 million in losses suffered by more than 300 separate victims who were forced to deal with their vehicles being disabled for potentially weeks on end. The more than 300 victims included businesses and individuals across Massachusetts and parts of New Hampshire, including a food pantry, automotive businesses, tradesmen, a bakery, single parents, a home healthcare provider and the elderly. Some businesses were repeatedly targeted on multiple nights.

Once in possession of the stolen catalytic converters, the crew would then sell them to Jose Torres, who would accumulate stolen catalytic converters from multiple theft crews and then in turn sell them to scrap dealers in the Northeast – transacting approximately $30,000 to $80,000 in stolen catalytic converters per week. The stolen catalytic converters were then sold to scrap dealers who have since been charged federally for interstate transportation of stolen property and money laundering in the District of Connecticut, the Eastern District of California and Northern District of Oklahoma

Additionally, in February 2023 Marshall, and allegedly, co-defendant Rafael Davila broke into to a self-storage facility in Northborough. During this break-in, Marshall stole items from storage units and stole a truck containing approximately $13,000 worth of Milwaukee brand power tools. A high-speed chase from law enforcement took place that evening reaching speeds upwards of 120 mph. Some of the stolen tools would later be recovered during a search of a storage unit allegedly controlled by Rafael Davila on April 12, 2023.

Marshall is the sixth defendant to plead guilty in the case. On May 17, 2023, Torres pleaded guilty to his role in the catalytic converter theft conspiracy and is scheduled to be sentenced at a later date.

Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy; Jodi Cohen, Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division; John E. Mawn Jr., Interim Colonel of the Massachusetts State Police; and Kevin Gallagher, Director of Operations for the National Insurance Crime Bureau, Northeast Region made the announcement today. Valuable assistance was also provided by the United States Attorney’s Offices for the District of Connecticut, the Northern District of Oklahoma and the Eastern District of California; Homeland Security Investigations; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives; and the New England State Police Information Network (NESPIN). Assistant U.S. Attorney Philip A. Mallard of the Organized Crime & Gang Unit is prosecuting the case.

Over 70 local police departments in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Connecticut contributed to this investigation through the submission of their investigations of catalytic converter thefts in their jurisdiction. The Massachusetts Police Departments contributing to the investigation were Abington, Acton, Andover, Auburn, Bedford, Bellingham, Beverly, Billerica, Burlington, Bridgewater, Canton, Carver, Chelmsford, Concord, Cranston, East Hampton, Easton, Fitchburg, Framingham, Franklin, Gardner, Hampton, Hanover, Haverhill, Hingham, Holliston, Holyoke, Hudson, Ipswich, Lawrence, Leominster, Lynn, Malden, Mansfield, Medford, Marlborough, Methuen, Middleton, Milford, Millbury, Needham, Newton, Northborough, Norwell, Norwood, Peabody, Pembroke, Plymouth, Randolph, Rockland, Sharon, Shrewsbury, Springfield, Sterling, Sturbridge, Sudbury, Tyngsborough, Walpole, Waltham, Watertown, West Bridgewater, Weymouth, Wilmington, Woburn and Worcester. The New Hampshire Police Departments contributing to the investigation were Bow, Concord, Derry, Hooksett, Hudson, Londonderry, Manchester, Salem and Windham. The South Windsor and Windsor Connecticut Police Departments also contributed to the investigation.

The details contained in the charging documents are allegations. The remaining defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

Updated April 11, 2024