Photo: Daniel Gonzalez and Jose Padilla-Rivas
May 4, 2021 – Ventura County, Ca.
The recent plague of catalytic converter thefts from vehicles throughout Ventura County may be slowing with the May 3rd arrests of 33-year-old Daniel Gonzales, 33-year-old Jose Padilla-Rivas, and 23-year-old Claudia Flores, all residents of Los Angeles.
Throughout the month of April, VCSD detectives attached to the Camarillo Police Department’s Special Enforcement Detail have been on the hunt for Gonzales, suspected of perpetrating a number of catalytic converter thefts in Ventura County.
Pursuant to their suspicions, detectives had placed Gonzalez’ vehicle under periodic surveillance. According to VCSD spokesman Sgt. Brian Whittaker, in the pre-dawn hours of May 3 rd , detectives “observed actions consistent with what they believed to be a catalytic converter theft” and then followed the suspect vehicle onto southbound U.S. 101.
When the suspect vehicle “accelerated to a high rate of speed,” the cops then had sufficient probable cause to conduct a traffic enforcement stop. Once the cops had made contact with the three Los Angeles residents, it was quickly determined that they were under the influence of a controlled substance and they were taken into custody.
At that point a search of their vehicle was conducted, leading to the discovery of “illegal narcotics, drug paraphernalia, a reciprocating saw, additional saw blades, and a Jeep catalytic converter with fresh cut marks.”
All three were transported to Ventura County Jail, where Gonzales and Flores were booked on charges of grand theft, possession of burglary tools, conspiracy, vehicle tampering, possession of a controlled substance, and possession of drug paraphernalia, with their bail set at $100,000 each. For his part, Padilla-Rivas was booked on the same charges with his bail set at $250,000.
Photos: Courtesy Ventura County Jail Booking