3 arrested in New York City hit and run with stolen catalytic converters; victim ID'd

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Friday, August 26, 2022
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Police have arrested three suspects in the death of a 69-year-old woman who was killed in a hit and run in front of Yankee Stadium early Thursday.

MELROSE, Bronx (WABC) -- Police have arrested three suspects in the death of a 69-year-old woman who was killed in a hit and run in front of Yankee Stadium early Thursday.

We are also learning more about the victim, who has now been identified as a Department of Correction employee.

Authorities say the victim, Cathy Garcia, a member of the Applicant Investigation Unit, was headed to work in her Mitsubishi Outlander just before 5:30 a.m. when a BMW X6 ran a red light at the intersection River Avenue and East 161st Street and slammed into her vehicle.

Garcia was rushed to Lincoln Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

"We are heartbroken to learn that a member of our DOC family was tragically taken from us Thursday while on her way to work," Correction Commissioner Louis Molina said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with Ms. Garcia's loved ones as we mourn the loss of our colleague."

The victim's daughter, Nubia Garcia, was at work at a hospital, and she and her co-workers saw the news coverage but had no idea her mom was the victim.

"Of course we said a few remarks, like this is obscene and just unbelievable," she said. "I didn't find out until later on that day."

She says she can only hope the three men in custody face justice, but going forward will be hard without her mom, for her and all the family members, friends, co-workers and neighbors who adored her.

"She always had a smile, and I didn't even understand why she talked to people so much," Nubia Garcia said.

The driver of the BMW and two passengers abandoned the vehicle and fled on foot, and 12 catalytic converters were found in the trunk, leading investigators to believe the car was being used by thieves to steal the expensive car parts overnight.

Three suspects turned themselves in separately overnight. They were identified as 24-year-old Carlos Hernandez, 21-year-old Edwin Amparo and 28-year-old Atahualda Rodriguez.

Hernandez, believed to the driver, is charged with reckless endangerment, leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death, and criminal possession of stolen property.

Amparo and Rodriguez are both charged with criminal possession of stolen property and possession of burglar tools.

Authorities say catalytic converter theft teams usually work in groups of three, as removing the catalytic converter is a two man job, with the third serving as a lookout and getaway driver.

Police said a huge black market has developed for the items, some of it driven by supply chain issues.

In fact, the thefts have increased citywide this year by 269% compared with the same time last year.

The NYPD has a program to etch an identification number onto your catalytic converter, as well as other theft prevention programs. Reach out to your local precinct for more information and for a schedule of etching events.

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