PETALUMA (CBS SF) – Police in Petaluma have arrested four people early Monday morning in connection with two catalytic converter thefts.
Officers were called to the 700 block of Mountain View Avenue around 1:15 a.m. after a resident suspected the converter from his car was being stolen after hearing a saw being used outside his residence. Police said he also provided descriptions of the suspects.
When officers responded, police said they found a vehicle driving slowly through the neighborhood and conducted a traffic stop, which had four people inside.
A search of the vehicle yielded a floor jack and power tools and two catalytic converter thefts in the truck, according to officers. The victim responded to the scene and said one of the converters belonged to his car. Petaluma police are still searching for the owner of the second catalytic converter that was found.
The four suspects, identified as 35-year-old Jose Garcia, 32-year-old Jose Ramirez of Richmond, 28-year-old Claudia Rivas of Santa Rosa and 42-year-old Juan Pineda of Oakland, were arrested on suspicion of catalytic converter theft and possession of stolen property.
Police said Rivas and Pineda also face charges of methamphetamine possession and Pineda had an outstanding arrest warrant from Marin County for possession of stolen property.
According to jail records, Rivas and Pineda are scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday. It was not immediately known when the other suspects would be in court.
Authorities have told KPIX 5 that thefts of the valuable emissions control equipment have been on the rise in the North Bay and throughout the Bay Area recently, due to the price of the precious metals inside catalytic converters. For many victims, the cost to replace a converter can cost thousands of dollars.
Anyone with information about the case or any potential victims of recent catalytic converter thefts are asked to contact police at 707-778-4372.
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