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Published on April 12, 2024
Springfield Man Sentenced to 47 Months for Multi-State Catalytic Converter Theft SpreeSource: Wikipedia/NATO Training Mission-Afghanistan, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A Springfield man has been put behind bars for his role in a rash of catalytic converter thefts across Massachusetts and New Hampshire, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office. Zachary Marshall, 26, has been sentenced to 47 months in federal prison following his November 2023 guilty plea on charges of conspiracy to transport stolen property in interstate commerce and interstate transportation of stolen property.

Marshall was part of a crew implicated in over $2 million in losses, from hitting more than 490 vehicles. During the spree, Marshall personally stripped catalytic converters from 100 vehicles, in 10 separate incidents, between Jan. 19, 2023, and April 6, 2023 – in a spree that spanned multiple cities in a single night. The converters are a hot commodity due to their content of precious metals, fetching upward of $1,000 each on the black market.

Since his crew was taken down in April last year, catalytic converter thefts have plummeted in Massachusetts, with only seven reported incidents in the past 12 months – a stark contrast to the hundreds in the preceding nine-month period. The heists have left a trail of victims in their wake, from small businesses and tradespeople to single parents and senior citizens. Losses per vehicle have averaged $5,000, but costs have shot over $10,000 for certain trucks.

But Marshall didn't stop at auto parts; in February 2023, he, and the allegedly, co-defendant Rafael Davila were involved in a break-in at a self-storage facility in Northborough, where a stash of Milwaukee brand power tools valued at $13,000 was swiped, leading to a high-speed chase with the police. Later, some of these tools were discovered in a storage unit tied to Davila on April 12, 2023. The wheels of justice continued to turn with Jose Torres pleading guilty in May to his role in the conspiracy and awaiting sentencing.

More than 70 local police departments across three states poured resources into this multi-layered case. The prosecution of such a sprawling organized crime operation was not only a testament to shared intelligence and collaborative law enforcement but also delivered a decisive blow to a national epidemic of catalytic converter thefts.