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Saturday, January 22, 2022

2 arrested on suspicion of catalytic converter theft

CHICO — Two people from the Sacramento area were arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of possessing stolen property, according to the Chico Police Department.

According to a press release from the Chico Police Department, a resident in Chico called police about a possible catalytic converter theft Wednesday at 2:56 p.m. in Wyndham Court. The caller reportedly heard a bite, looked out the window, and saw their neighbor’s Honda Accord coming down from the jack.

According to Lieutenant Mike Roden in the Chico Police Department, Hondas, Toyotas and Sedans are targeted.

The press release said that both the suspects had left the area in a dark colored truck. Initially, the police did not find the thieves.

The same caller had called the police and informed that the same truck had returned. San Sachao, 31, and Ker Lee, 39, were arrested after officers returned to the scene and found the pickup.

“The officers arrived within moments and saw the pickup trying to flee the spot without any lights on,” the press release said. “The officers stopped the suspect’s escape in their vehicles.”

The pickup had a license plate that was allegedly stolen from another car in Chico. Officers searched the pickup and found two newly cut catalytic converters along with a floor jack and several cutting tools, the press release said.

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Officials said the second catalytic converter was stolen from another Honda Accord in the same neighborhood. Officials also said they obtained private video surveillance footage that showed Sachao and Lee allegedly committing a theft. The catalytic converters were returned to the owners; Each was worth $1,700.

According to Roden, catalytic converter theft has increased over the past two years. He said that this theft takes place in the entire Chico area.

“They find a car that may be a little more out of sight than any other neighborhood that they think isn’t being patrolled as much,” Roden said. “And they hit those neighborhoods.”

He said that sometimes police see a group of burglaries in a neighborhood in one night, but there is no specific area in Chico where police see more catalytic converter thefts.

“If it weren’t for civilians calling in that night, we probably wouldn’t have caught the suspects,” Roden said.

He said that to help prevent catalytic converter theft, and crime in general, the neighborhood watch is ideal. Roden also said to try to park indoors or in well-lit areas if possible.

“There’s no real way to lock in a catalytic converter,” he said.

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