Dec. 11, 2017 By Tara Law
A Queens man has been charged for stealing 15 catalytic converters from vehicles across the borough.
Michael Cipriati, 33, of Whitestone, allegedly removed converters from vehicles parked in Astoria, Long Island City, College Point, Jackson Heights, Little Neck, Sunnyside Gardens and Flushing between October and December.
He then sold them to as scrap metal to a Bronx recycling facility for cash.
Witnesses saw Cipriati removing the vehicles, according to the Queens District Attorney’s office. Phone records also placed him near where the car parts were stolen at the time of the thefts.
Furthermore, on 11 occasions, he sold the converters to the Bronx facility on the same day as the converters were stolen, according to prosecutors.
Catalytic converters, which reduce vehicle emissions, are a common target for thieves because they contain precious metals that are rising in price.
“While stolen catalytic converters can reportedly fetch a thief a few hundred dollars, the cost to the car owners is much higher— in both replacing the expensive device as well as a possible jump in car insurance rates,” said Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown.
Cipriati was caught driving a Mercedes Benz with a suspended license at the time of his arrest, and with two Oxycodone pills in his possession.
If convicted, Cipriati may face up to four years in prison. Bail was set in the amount of $20,000 bond or $10,000 cash.
He has been charged with criminal mischief, grand larceny, auto stripping and multiple other charges.