Catalytic Converter Crooks Caught after Car Chase
Photo: Evidence Collected | Courtesy of Santa Barbara County Sherriff’s Department
March 7, 2023 – Santa Barbara County, Ca. – Undoubtedly unaware that their chaotic criminal conduct could conceivably create continuing opportunities for continuing alliteration, 27-year-old El Monte, Ca. resident Nathaniel Santiago Reyes and 32-year-old Los Angeles resident Bryan Arciniega were the subjects of a hot vehicle pursuit in the pre-dawn hours of March 5th.
According to Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department Public Information Officer Raquel Zick, the action began when a watchful Buellton resident called 911 Emergency Dispatch to report “thefts in progress” as Reyes and Arciniega were observed removing catalytic converters from parked vehicles. As deputies responded to the scene, “the suspects were seen fleeing the area in a Fiat” which was soon the subject of an attempted traffic stop.
Failing to yield to the cops, the Fiat then sped off and “entered the opposing lanes of traffic” driving southbound on the northbound lanes of U.S. Highway 101. Deputies immediately ended their pursuit “in the interest of public safety,” alerting local CHP units. It didn’t take long for CHP patrol units to catch up to the Fiat which “again entered the opposing lanes” of the freeway, bringing that second pursuit to an end.
Undaunted, CHP units further south promptly set up a spike strip which “successfully disabled the vehicle” as it rolled southbound in northbound lanes. Their car disabled, Reyes and Arciniega took off on foot. They were eventually tracked down by a SBSD K9 Unit and taken into custody.
Both men were transported to Santa Barbara County Jail, where Reyes was booked on charges of vandalism, attempted grand theft, possession of burglary tools, possession of stolen property, and felony criminal conspiracy, with his bail set at $75,000.
For his part, Arciniega was booked on the aforementioned charges as well as for reckless driving and obstruction of a peace officer, with his bail set at $150,000.
by Robert L. McCullough