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2 charged after catalytic converter theft at West Haven school leads to police chase

Police said the suspect attempted to escape police but crashed into a car. One of the suspects allegedly assaulted an officer when being placed under arrest.
west haven police

WEST HAVEN, Conn. — Two men have been charged after a catalytic converter theft arrest led to a police chase and an officer being assaulted in West Haven on Wednesday afternoon. 

Police said at 1:21 p.m. the West Haven High School Resource Officer told officers that a Hyundai Elantra occupied by two men went into the school lot and removed a catalytic converter from a vehicle. The vehicle then fled the school grounds and continued to Main Street where they attempted to remove another catalytic converter but were interrupted by a Detective Sergeant who saw them. 

The vehicle then fled and additional units flooded the area. The driver lost control of the vehicle and hit a parked car on First Avenue by Elm Street.  Both occupants, later identified as Charlie Martinez-Rojas and Emmanuel Luna exited the vehicle and fled. Luna, still in possession of his Sawzall, attempted to carjack a person driving a tow truck. After his failed attempt he turned and began assaulting an officer who was attempting to place him under arrest.

Martinez-Rojas was located a short time later in a nearby yard.

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Once back at Police Headquarters, Luna was charged with:

  • Criminal Mischief Second Degree
  • Possession of Burglary Tools
  • Criminal Attempt/Robbery by Carjacking
  • Interfering with an Officer
  • Assault on Public Safety Officer
  • Strangulation 3rd Degree

Martinez-Rojas was charged with:

  • Interfering with an Officer
  • Criminal Mischief Second Degree
  • Possession of Burglary Tools
  • 2 Counts of Evading Responsibility
  • Operation of an Motor Vehicle Without Insurance
  • Operation of an Motor Vehicle Without an License
  • Operating an Unregistered Motor Vehicle
  • Reckless Driving
  • Operating an Motor Vehicle on a Sidewalk.

Martinez-Rojas is also currently on federal probation stemming from an attempted murder charge in Puerto Rico.


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