Photo: Kevin Sanchez
February 10, 2021 – Ventura County
In spite of the fact that most of the cars on the road today are packed with high-end components, computer chips, and exotic touch screens, it’s remarkable that the most desirable device on the market of stolen car parts isn’t stolen for the part itself, but for the mineral components found inside.
According to Ventura County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Sgt. Vince Alvarez, today’s catalytic converters—built with a honeycombed matrix of platinum, palladium, copper, nickel, and manganese as well as other precious metals—are valuable commodities and inspiring crimes that are “on the rise” throughout the county.
Evidence of that came on the morning of February 8th when a Fillmore area resident “heard a loud noise” coming from beneath her car. The female victim quickly discovered suspects under her car as they quickly scrambled out from under the vehicle and fled the area. Subsequently, the victim discovered her catalytic converter “had been removed from the vehicle.”
The victim’s report of the thievery included a description of the two vehicles in which the suspects—numbering five in total—drove away from the scene. Responding deputies soon located the two vehicles and conducted “a coordinated stop of both vehicles.” Upon contact with the occupants, the cops spotted “a catalytic converter that had been cut” along with “saws, a car jack, and other items related to catalytic converter thefts” in the rear of one of the vehicles.
The five suspects—all Los Angeles residents—included Jonathan Santos-Beltran, 21, Kevin Sanchez, 22, Moises Barahoma, 25, Kevin Orellana-Cerna, 23, and Sinesio Rodriguez-Escobar, 27. They were all taken into custody and transported to Ventura County Jail, where they were booked on charges of grand theft, conspiracy to commit a crime, and possession of burglary tools, with no bail amount specified.
Photos: Courtesy Ventura County Jail Booking