For Immediate Release
East Hartford Man Admits Role in Catalytic Converter Theft Ring
Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that BRYANT BERMUDEZ, 31, of East Hartford, pleaded guilty yesterday before U.S. District Judge Sarala V. Nagala in Hartford to offenses related to his participation in a stolen catalytic converter trafficking ring.
According to court documents and statements made in court, law enforcement has been investigating the theft of catalytic converters from motor vehicles across Connecticut. A catalytic converter contains precious metals, can easily be removed from its vehicle, and is difficult to trace, making it a desirable target for thieves. The average scrap price for catalytic converters currently varies between $300 and $1,500, depending on the model and type of precious metal component.
In November 2021, Bermudez began working at Downpipe Depot & Recycling LLC (“Downpipe Depot”), which had a warehouse on Park Avenue in East Hartford. At Downpipe Depot, Bermudez and a co-conspirator purchased stolen catalytic converters from a network of thieves, with some of the transactions occurring late at night, and then transported and sold the catalytic converters to recycling businesses in New York and New Jersey. On at least a bi-weekly basis, Bermudez or a co-conspirator transported van loads of catalytic converters to New York or New Jersey. Some of the trips yielded payments in excess of $200,000.
Bermudez pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit interstate transportation of stolen property, an offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of five years, and three counts of interstate transportation of stolen property, an offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years on each count.
Judge Nagala scheduled sentencing for July 12. Bermudez is released on a $150,000 bond pending sentencing.
This investigation is being led by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CI), and the East Hartford Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lauren C. Clark and A. Reed Durham.