July 7, 2022

East Providence Police Arrest Three in Catalytic Converter Thefts

Thefts Plaguing EP and Region

Posted

East Providence Police Chief, Colonel Christopher Francesconi, released a statement today, March 14, 2022, regarding the arrest of three men suspected of stealing catalytic converters in East Providence. The theft of catalytic converters has become a major problem locally and across the country. Catalytic converters contain precious metals, including palladium and rhodium, which values have increased significantly in recent years. Some thieves can sell one converter for $300. Coincidently, the issue of stolen catalytic converters will be discussed at City Council meeting on 3/14/22. The agenda item was placed on the council docket last week, before the current arrests. Several local residents have been the victims of similar thefts.

Police spokesman Lieutenant Michael Rapoza stated in the press release that “… on March 12, 2022 at approximately 2:00 a.m., officers were dispatched to the Rhode Island Truck Center on Amaral Street for a report of a larceny in progress. A caller reported that several individuals had gained access to the gated facility and were actively stealing catalytic converters from several commercial vehicles. Responding officers encountered a silver Mazda sedan exiting the parking lot occupied by three males wearing black ski masks.”

Police officers attempted to stop the vehicle, but their commands were ignored. The vehicle fled the scene at a high rate of speed towards the Wampanoag Trail. Several officers pursued the vehicle on Pawtucket Avenue before it continued onto Route 195 westbound. “During the pursuit, the vehicle sustained damage to the passenger side front tire. The vehicle continued to flee at a high rate of speed on three wheels onto Route 95 north and eventually Route 146 north,” said Chief Francesconi.

Surrounding agencies were notified of the pursuit which was eventually terminated near the Smithfield Avenue exit on Route 146. Rhode Island State Police located the vehicle a short distance away where the vehicle attempted to exit onto Route 116. The vehicle became disabled and all three suspects fled on foot. All three were subsequently taken into custody by Rhode Island State Police.

Rhode Island State Police recovered 14 catalytic converters from the vehicle, each valued at approximately $1,500. Officers identified several vehicles that had the catalytic converters removed. Detectives are currently investigating the incident to see if the suspects are connected to other catalytic converter thefts in East Providence and surrounding communities. The three suspects were all charged with receiving stolen goods by the Rhode Island State Police. The three suspects were eventually transported to the East Providence Police Department where they were identified and arraigned by a bail commissioner on the following charges:

Jose Vazquez (DOB:6/15/1994) of Chicopee, MA
Larceny over $1,500 (6 counts)
Injuring or Tampering with Vehicles (6 counts)
Eluding an Officer/High Speed Pursuit
Obstructing an Officer in Execution of Duty
Conspiracy

Nathaniel Vazquez (DOB:7/11/1995) of Springfield, MA
Larceny over $1,500 (6 counts)
Injuring or Tampering with Vehicles (6 counts)
Conspiracy

Roberto Jordan (DOB:5/5/97) of Springfield, MA
Larceny over $1,500 (6 counts)
Injuring or Tampering with Vehicles (6 counts)
Conspiracy

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