Three men from New York arrested for stealing catalytic converters in Hamilton Township

On February 20, 2024, in Hamilton Township, New Jersey, a brazen act of theft unfolded, prompting a swift response from law enforcement authorities. At approximately 5:58 a.m., officers were alerted to a catalytic converter theft in progress on Locust Avenue West. Simultaneously, another theft was reported in the 3400 block of South Broad Street. Upon arrival at the scene, officers witnessed a dark sedan fleeing the Barclay Apartments parking lot at a high speed. Despite attempts to intercept the vehicle, the driver evaded capture, leading to a subsequent motor vehicle collision at the intersection of Hempstead Road and Arena Drive. One suspect fled the scene on foot but was apprehended by pursuing officers in a nearby backyard. The individual was identified as Joel Rodriguez, a 31-year-old resident of the Bronx, New York. Additionally, Rafael Medina, 31, also from the Bronx, and Renee Gutierrez, 30, from Brooklyn, were found in connection with the theft. The suspects were in possession of twenty catalytic converters and a floor jack at the time of their arrest.

Following their apprehension, all three individuals were charged with multiple offenses, including theft, criminal mischief, possession of burglar’s tools, and receiving stolen property. Medina and Rodriguez faced additional charges of obstructing the administration of law and resisting arrest. The suspects were transported to the Mercer County Correctional Facility pending a detention hearing. Authorities urge anyone with information regarding the incident to come forward and contact Detective James Rickey of the Hamilton Police Division Major Crimes Unit or the Hamilton Police Crime Tip Hotline.

The successful apprehension of the suspects highlights the dedication and vigilance of law enforcement officers in addressing criminal activities within the community. The collaborative efforts of the officers involved in the pursuit and capture of the suspects demonstrate a commitment to upholding the rule of law and ensuring the safety and security of residents in Hamilton Township. The recovery of the stolen property and the swift resolution of the case underscore the effectiveness of law enforcement agencies in combating criminal behavior and maintaining public order.

As the investigation continues, authorities remain focused on identifying any potential accomplices or related criminal activities. The diligence and professionalism exhibited by law enforcement personnel in handling this case serve as a testament to their unwavering commitment to justice and public safety. The swift and decisive action taken by officers in apprehending the suspects reflects the effectiveness of coordinated law enforcement efforts in addressing criminal behavior and maintaining order in the community.

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