Jose Rodriguez : “NY Men Charged in Converter Thefts”

Three men from New York have been charged in connection with catalytic converter thefts in Hamilton Township, New Jersey. The incident occurred on Monday, February 19, 2024, when police received reports of thefts in progress in two different locations.

The first theft was reported on Locust Avenue West, while another theft was reported in the 3400 block of South Broad Street. Officers responding to the scene observed a dark colored sedan leaving the area at a high speed. Despite attempting to stop the vehicle, the driver accelerated away, leading to a pursuit that was eventually terminated by the officers.

Shortly after, a motor vehicle crash occurred at the intersection of Hempstead Road and Arena Drive, with one person fleeing the scene on foot. A foot pursuit ensued, leading to the arrest of one suspect in a backyard on Shirley Avenue. The suspect was identified as Joel Rodriguez, 31, from the Bronx, NY.

Another suspect, Rafael Medina, 31, was located behind a shed in a nearby yard, while a third suspect, Renee Gutierrez, 30, was found inside the suspect vehicle. Inside the vehicle, officers discovered approximately twenty catalytic converters and a floor jack.

Rodriguez and Medina were treated for their injuries at Capital Health at Fuld and later released. All three suspects were charged with multiple counts of theft, criminal mischief, possession of burglar’s tools, and receiving stolen property. Medina and Rodriguez also faced charges of obstructing the administration of law and resisting arrest.

The suspects were taken to the Mercer County Correctional Facility pending a detention hearing. Anyone with information about the incident is urged to contact Detective James Rickey of the Hamilton Police Division Major Crimes Unit.

The incident highlights the ongoing issue of catalytic converter thefts in the area and the efforts of law enforcement to address and combat this type of crime.

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