2 Suspects in Custody in Connection with Catalytic Converter Thefts
Photo: confiscated reciprocating saw
BERKELEY — Two suspects are in custody in connection with a citywide surge in catalytic converter thefts. More than 30 vehicles have been damaged since late July and authorities believe more suspects may be involved.
Catalytic converters contain precious metals used in exhaust systems. These metals fetch upwards of $100 from recyclers and scrap yards. Most of the stolen catalytic converters came from a Toyota Prius. That’s because a Prius weighs less and is easier to jack up than most cars.
Typically, two thieves are involved in catalytic converter heists. One person serves as a lookout, while another person uses a reciprocal saw to cut off the catalytic converter. Such thefts usually occur during nighttime hours. It happens so frequently that Berkeley PD issued a warning to residents.
More recently, detectives conducting an ongoing investigation identified a stolen vehicle suspected of being used to commit these crimes. Nearby law enforcement agencies were alerted to be on the lookout for it.
On August 7, Piedmont police detained the suspect vehicle and its two occupants. Whereas, Berkeley detectives traveled to Piedmont and took custody of them. A reciprocating saw was recovered, which detectives believe was used to remove catalytic converters.
Navarrete is scheduled to be arraigned on August 12. His charges include grand theft, receiving stolen property and possession of burglary tools. He also faces charges for conspiracy, driving without a license and giving false identification to an officer.
Crisp faces charges for vehicle theft, receiving stolen property, conspiracy, grand theft, and possession of burglary tools. That’s in addition to driving with a suspended license. Her arraignment is scheduled for August 13.