Prolific Marysville catalytic converter thief headed to prison

EVERETT — A Marysville man police described as a prolific catalytic converter thief will have some time behind bars to think about his crimes.

Michael Heuslein, 41, was sentenced in Snohomish County Superior Court Thursday to nearly two and a half years in prison. He pleaded guilty to six counts of malicious mischief related to the damage created from the thefts.

The prison term was at the top of the state’s standard sentencing range.

Heuslein apologized for his crimes before he was sentenced.

Left unresolved under the plea agreement is how much he will have to pay in restitution.

Everett police believe Heuslein is responsible for stealing more than two dozen car emission devices for their precious metals. Each converter contains platinum and palladium, which fetch a hefty profit on the scrap metal market. The converters on the undercarriage of cars and pickup trucks are used to clean up exhaust.

Heuslein reportedly admitted to catalytic converter thefts in Everett, Bellevue, Mill Creek, Tukwila and Sea-Tac International Airport.

Police said Heuslein bragged that he could steal the converters in seconds. He told detectives he used a rigid saw and a new blade every time, according to court records.

He also reportedly claimed that he taught his girlfriend how to steal them and bought her her own saw.

On June 10, a car owner allegedly caught Heuslein attempting to steal a catalytic converter beneath his vehicle in the 7600 block of Evergreen Way. The suspect ran through a department store nearby and got away, but his face was caught on surveillance video.

Detectives had been interested in Heuslein in a series of catalytic converter thefts more than a year ago. Snohomish County sheriff’s deputies asked Everett police to hold off because Heuslein was believed to have information that could be used in a homicide investigation.

Heuslein allegedly made statements to an acquaintance that he helped move and bury parts of a north county man who was killed by his wife in 2004, according to court papers.

Michele L. Donohue, 48, was sentenced to prison in July in the fatal stabbing of her husband, Byron Wright, 53. Some time later, her new husband and his two buddies dug up Wright’s body and buried him under a shop floor off Wade Road between Marysville and Arlington.

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446; stevick@heraldnet.com.

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