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Man arrested with 15 catalytic converters

by Steven Felschundneff | steven@claremont-courier.com

Claremont police officers arrested a suspected catalytic converter thief who appeared to be cruising neighborhoods in the south part of the city early Wednesday morning.

At approximately 4:42 a.m. a CPD officer identified “a suspicious minivan” traveling very slowly westbound on Vista Avenue near Indian Hill Boulevard.

The driver apparently saw the officer and quickly turned onto Georgia Court, parking his vehicle in a driveway in the 400 block. The officer made contact with the subject as he was exiting his vehicle and walking to the front door of a home. When questioned, the subject he claimed he was visiting his girlfriend. However, police contacted the homeowner who claimed never to have seen the subject before.

The officer looked in the minivan and saw what appeared to be catalytic converters in the back seats. A further search of the vehicle revealed 15 used catalytic converters with fresh saw cuts, multiple Sawzalls, bags of power tools and a floor creeper, which could be used to gain quick access to the underside of vehicles. The evidence was collected and the suspect was placed under arrest for being in possession of stolen property, according to a news release form the Claremont Police Department.

The suspect, identified as a 24-year-old male from La Verne, was transported to the Claremont jail, where he was booked and later released on a written promise to appear.

Claremont police continue to investigate the alleged crimes, including attempting to identifying the rightful owners of the stolen car parts. Additionally, CPD is planning a catalytic converter theft awareness event for April, during which residents can have their vehicle’s license plate number engraved onto the unit for easy identification.

If a catalytic converter has been stolen, the vehicle will be noticeably louder because part of the exhaust system is missing. The CPD encourages residents to check their vehicles, and contact the Claremont Police Department at 909-399-5411, if they have been a victim of theft.

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