By Julia Moro
Michael Cipriati, 34, of 11th Avenue in Whitestone, has been sentenced to jail for stealing more than a dozen catalytic converters from vehicles parked on various streets throughout Queens County between October 2017 and December 2017, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.
“With the price of scrap metal continuing to increase, this mechanically inclined defendant brazenly stole the parts and then sold them to a recycling facility in the Bronx for cash. The sentence imposed today is warranted,” Brown said Monday.
Cipriati pleaded guilty to second-degree auto stripping in Queens Supreme Court last month and was sentenced by Judge Toni Cimino to one year in jail.
According to the criminal charges, between Oct. 20, 2017, and Dec. 6, 2017, the defendant removed 15 catalytic converters from a number of vehicles parked in neighborhoods throughout Queens, including Flushing, Astoria, Long Island City, College Point, Jackson Heights, Little Neck and Sunnyside Gardens.
The defendant stole from a Ford Econoline van, Toyota Prius, Acura TL, Dodge Sprinter van, Honda Odyssey, Suzuki Grand Vitara, Mercedes Benz, Honda Element, Mitsubishi Endeavor, Mitsubishi Outlander and Chevy Cavalier, according to the charges,
Brown said the defendant was seen removing the catalytic converters from vehicles and cell phone records revealed that Cipriati’s mobile phone was in the area at the time the valuable car parts were stolen. On at least 11 of the occasions the catalytic converters were stolen, the defendant sold the car part on the same day to Alpha Recycling in the Bronx, according to the charges.
At the time of the defendant’s arrest, Cipriati was seen driving a Mercedes Benz with a suspended license and had two Oxycodone pills in his possession, the DA said.
Brown said that his office has made great improvements to reduce auto-related thefts in Queens. Since his first year as district attorney in 1991, the rate of vehicle thefts in Queens has dropped by more than 90 percent, Brown said.
“This accomplishment can be attributed in part to driving home this message: If you steal autos and auto parts in Queens County, you will be caught and you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” he said.
Reach reporter Julia Moro by e-mail at jmoro