Catalytic converter gang of three thieves arrested

Catalytic converter gang of three thieves arrested
Photo: Samantha Chavez

Originally published as a City of San Luis Obispo press release – 

“At approximately 1:05 am the police department received a call from an alert citizen who reported hearing what sounded like metal being cut and believed it was involved in the recent thefts of catalytic converters. The caller reported seeing a dark minivan with a roof mounted cargo rack in the area the cutting was heard.


The caller quickly notified the police.  While responding one of the officers saw the described minivan as it was driving from the area and stopped it.

Three suspects were in the van along with all the tools needed to remove catalytic converters. Also located in the van were two catalytic converters that the suspect admitted to stealing earlier in the day.

The investigation led officers to a local hotel where additional tools and two more catalytic converters were found. The suspects told officers that those catalytic converters were stolen from Monterey County.



All three suspects were booked at the County Jail for the following charges:

PC 463(b) – Grand Theft during state emergency, PC 182(a) – Conspiracy,

PC 496(a) – Possess Stolen Property, PC 466 – Burglary Tools, VC 10852 – Vehicle Tampering

This is an ongoing investigation and detectives are working with our partner agencies to find the owners of the additional converters located in the motel. If you have any information about this case, please contact Detective Benedetti at 805-594-8060 or Crime Stoppers at 805-549-7867.

The police department would like to thank the caller in this case for their quick actions which led to the arrest of this group.


Nicholas VANBUSKIRK, 31-year-old resident of Pleasant Hill

Samantha CHAVEZ, 35-Year-old resident of Clearlake Oaks

Eric STAUDINGER, 33-year-old Resident of Concord”



Catalytic converter gang of three thieves arrested was last modified: January 5th, 2023 by admin
Categories: San Luis Obispo

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