Deputies arrested two Whittier men Friday in connection with a series of recent catalytic converter thefts in La Mirada, authorities said. Both suspects have been arrested on suspicion of the same crime in recent weeks.
Deputies from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's La Mirada Special Assignment Officers team arrested the two men following an investigation into a recent spate of catalytic converter thefts that was helped along by surveillance camera footage, Sgt. C. Hinojosa said. The suspects, whose identities were not available Saturday, were taken into custody without a struggle.
Investigators had linked the men to at least six thefts, but detectives were looking into the possibility the suspects were responsible for additional crimes, as well, Hinojosa said.
One of the suspects, 34, had already been arrested twice in recent months, both times on suspicion of catalytic converter theft and evading police in a stolen car, the sergeant said.
The other man, 22, had been arrested on suspicion of catalytic converter theft in recent weeks, he added. The suspect told investigators in a subsequent interview that stealing the auto parts was an easy way to make money, and that there were no significant consequences when caught.
Hinojosa said the suspects had primarily been targeting Toyota Prius and Honda CRV vehicles, as their catalytic converters contain relatively large amounts of precious metals, which thieves sell for recycling value.
To help combat the crime, officials have hosted several events in the area in which car owners can have identifying information etched into their catalytic converters in hopes of making them easier to identify if stolen. Another such etching event was being planned in La Mirada in the coming months, according to Hinojosa.
Anyone with information regarding catalytic converter theft can reach the Sheriff's Norwalk Station at (562) 863-8711. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.