Federal investigators on Wednesday announced the arrest of seven Massachusetts men whom they say are responsible for stealing at least $2 million in catalytic converters from vehicles across New England in recent months.
Rafael “Robin Hood” Davila, 35, of Feeding Hills, Jose “Goldy” Torres, 37, of Springfield, Nicolas Davila, 25, of Springfield, Jose “Charlito” Fonseca, 26, of Springfield, Zachary Marshall, 26, of Holyoke , Santo Feliberty, 34, of Springfield, and Alexander “Dirty” Oyola, 37, of Springfield, have been charged with conspiracy to transport stolen property in interstate commerce, interstate transportation of stolen property, conspiracy to commit bank theft, bank theft, and money laundering conspiracy, according to United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins.
During an investigation into “Operation Cut and Run,” which involved more than 70 regional police departments and federal agencies, officials were able to determine that the suspects were allegedly involved in the theft of catalytic converters from at least 471 vehicles across Massachusetts and New Hampshire in 2022 and 2023 alone. However, investigators noted that they believe a significant number of additional thefts have not been identified or were not ever reported to law enforcement.
Rafael Davila, the crew leader who planned and participated in all of the thefts on a full-time basis, provided transportation to each targeted vehicle, determined price values for stolen converters, and purchased materials needed to cut the converters off cars, according to charging documents. On numerous occasions, the defendants targeted more than 10 vehicles in a single night, with one night reporting thefts from 26 vehicles, investigators said.
Once in possession of the stolen catalytic converters, the crew would then apparently 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 Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, and New jersey. Torres is said to have transacted about $30,000 to $80,000 in stolen catalytic converters per week to these entities.
In addition to the catalytic converter thefts, Rafael Davila, Santo Feliliberty, and Alexander Oyola also conspired to steal from ATMs of federally insured banks in Massachusetts on three separate occasions in December 2022, according to investigators. This conspiracy is said to have involved the use of stolen trucks that they would use to rip the ATMs from the ground and gain access to the vault.
Davila, Feliberty, and Oyola are also accused of committing burglaries at two New Hampshire jewelry stores in January 2023. The combined total value of the stolen jewelry during the burglaries was determined to be over $137,000, with each store facing about $10,000 in costs to repair thedamage.
All of the suspects were slated to face a judge in federal court in Boston on Wednesday afternoon.
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