Police arrest two catalytic converter theft suspects, recover stolen converters

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. — The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office said deputies arrested two men for stealing catalytic converters Saturday morning and recovered two of the four reported stolen converters.

Deputies responded to a call at 5.37am on Saturday that a catalytic converter theft had just occurred on the 500 block of Arbol Verde in Carpinteria.

The sheriff’s office said the caller heard what sounded like a saw cutting through metal and later discovered the catalytic converter had been stolen from his Toyota Prius, parked in the driveway.

Minutes after arriving, responding deputies stopped a car leaving the area for a vehicle code violation.

Deputies said they noticed two catalytic converters in the back seat when they approached the stopped car.

PC: Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office

The sheriff’s office said deputies then searched the car and found reciprocating saws, a car jack and other tools.

Deputies arrested the two men, both from Sacramento, and incarcerated them in the main Santa Barbara County jail for grand larceny, possession of stolen property, possession of burglary tools and conspiracy.

One of the two men was also arrested for possession of a controlled substance, according to the sheriff’s office.

The sheriff’s office said that because these crimes are “typically committed by suspects associated with organized theft rings and unrelated to Santa Barbara County, a bail increase to $100,000 has been granted.”

After that arrest, the sheriff’s office said deputies responded to two more reports of catalytic converter thefts in Carpinteria.

One converter was stolen from Palmetto Way 1000 clock, and the other from Dhalia Court 1300 block where police said the theft appeared to have been halted as the catalytic converter was partially severed.

PC: Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office

The sheriff’s office said it wanted to acknowledge the quick-wittedness of the victim who called 911 when she realized she was likely hearing a robbery.

“Theft of catalytic converters is popular because they can be easily removed, they have no identifying marks like serial numbers, and the components are made of precious metals that can be resold to recyclers,” the official said. Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office.

Steps that can be taken to prevent catalytic converter thefts, according to the sheriff’s office, include:

  • Parking inside a garage or a secure yard;
  • Install motion detectors near parking areas;
  • Installation of a catalytic converter protection device;
  • Educate neighbors to be on the lookout for thieves.
PC: Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office