Middletown police identify suspect in multiple catalytic converter thefts

A Middletown man is wanted for theft and other charges in connection to a series of catalytic converter thefts throughout the city.

In recent weeks, police have developed information that a silver Nissan Xterra was used to commit a number of thefts. Police identified Christopher Lucarelli as the suspect.

A search warrant was executed at the 26-year-old’s residence on Wilbraham Road, and additional evidence was located implicating Lucarelli for the thefts of several catalytic converters, police said.

An arrest warrant has been issued for Lucarelli. Anyone with information is asked to call the Middletown Division of Police at 513-425-7700 or detective Brook McDonald at 513-425-7745.

While the current charges against Lucarelli do not include catalytic converters stolen on Terry Drive on Oct. 18, Chief David Birk said he is a suspect in those cases as well. Birk said there likely is an accomplice in the rash of thefts.

The converters are expensive to replace and have a high price tag to scrap, according to police.

Catalytic converters are part of a vehicle’s exhaust system and have been required on vehicles sold in the United States since the 1970s. They contain metals including palladium and platinum, which makes them a hot item for resale on the black market, according to police.

This year police departments throughout Butler County have seen an uptick in catalytic converter thefts.

About the Author