Theft Of Catalytic Converters On The Rise As Price Of Scrap Metal Goes Up
Catalytic converters contain several types of profitable recyclable material and an increase in thefts are noticed when the price of scrap metal, particularly platinum, goes up. Such is the current case in the city of San Mateo and other areas of Northern California.
Vehicles with a high profile like trucks and SUV’s are generally targeted because the higher ground clearance makes
the converter more accessible to thieves. This does not make sports cars and sedans immune to theft; Toyotas, specifically the Prius, has been a hot target in San Mateo.
Three suspects were arrested on November 30, 2020 at 3:10 AM after a San Mateo Police Officer observed two suspects cutting a catalytic converter from under a vehicle on the 900 block of S B Street. The getaway driver was also arrested. Not only was the converter recovered but also confiscated was a floor jack, power drill, narcotics, and drug paraphernalia.
The trio was booked at the San Mateo County Jail for multiple charges. On December 1, 2020, 1:42 AM, the Foster City Police Department was searching for another person suspected of stealing a catalytic converter. Assisted by the San Mateo Police Department, the suspect was located and arrested.
The suspects are identified as 40-year old Benjamin Rodriguez, arrested for grand theft, attempted grand theft, possession of burglary tools, and conspiracy to commit crime; 33-year old Saroun Choeung, arrested for grand theft, attempted grand theft, possession of burglar tools, conspiracy to commit crime, and a bench warrant for possession of burglary tools; and 36-year old Francis Albert Acosta arrested for grand theft, attempted grand theft, possession of burglary tools, and conspiracy to commit crime.