SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. – The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office said deputies have arrested two men for stealing catalytic converters on Saturday morning, and recovered two of four reported stolen converters.
Deputies responded to a 5:37 a.m. call Saturday that a catalytic converter theft had just occurred on the 500-block of Arbol Verde in Carpinteria.
The sheriff’s office said that the caller heard what sounded like a saw cutting metal, and later discovered the catalytic converter had been stolen from his Toyota Prius, parked in the driveway.
A few minutes after arriving, the responding deputies pulled over a car leaving the area for a vehicle code violation.
Deputies said they noticed two catalytic converters in the backseat when they approached the pulled over car.
The sheriff’s office said the deputies then searched the car and found reciprocating saws, a car jack and other tools.
Deputies arrested the two men, both from Sacramento, and booked them into Santa Barbara County Main Jail for grand theft, possession of stolen property, possession of burglary tools and conspiracy.
One of the two men was also booked for possession of a controlled substance, according to the sheriff’s office.
The sheriff’s office said that because these crimes are “generally committed by suspects associated with organized theft rings and no connection to Santa Barbara County, a bail increase to $100,000 was granted.”
After this arrest, the sheriff’s office said deputies responded to two more reports of catalytic converter thefts in Carpinteria.
One converter was stolen in the 1000-clock of Palmetto Way, and the other in the 1300-block of Dhalia Court where police said the theft seemed to have been interrupted because the catalytic converter was partially cut.
The sheriff’s office said it would like to acknowledge the quick thinking of the victim who called 911 when they realized they were likely hearing a theft.
“The theft of catalytic converters is popular because they can be easily removed, they do not have identifying marks like serial numbers, and the components are made up of precious metals that can be resold to recyclers,” said the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office.
The steps that can be taken to prevent catalytic converter thefts, according to the sheriff’s office, include:
- Parking inside a garage or secured yard;
- Installing motion detector lights near parking areas;
- Installing a catalytic converter protection device;
- Educating neighbors to be on the look-out for thieves.