Suspects arrested in thefts of catalytic converters
CARPINTERIA – Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputies have arrested two suspects for theft of catalytic converters and recovered two of four reportedly stolen converters.
At 5:37 a.m. Saturday, patrol deputies were dispatched to the 500 block of Arbol Verde St. in Carpinteria for a report of a catalytic converter theft that had just occurred.
The victim heard what sounded like a saw cutting metal and suspected a theft was in progress, said Raquel Zick, the public information officer for the Sheriff’s Office.
The victim called 9-1-1 to report the incident and discovered the catalytic converter had been stolen from his Toyota Prius, parked in the driveway, Ms. Zick said.
A few minutes later, deputies noticed a vehicle leaving the area and initiated a traffic enforcement stop for a vehicle code violation, Ms. Zick said.
When deputies contacted the occupants, they noticed two catalytic converters in the backseat, Ms. Zick said.
During a search of the vehicle, reciprocating saws, a car jack and other tools were located, Ms. Zick said.
Deputies arrested the occupants, 41-year-old Banny Lo and 27-year-old Gary Lee, both from Sacramento. They were booked into Santa Barbara County Main Jail on suspicion of grand theft, possession of stolen property, possession of burglary tools and conspiracy. Banny Lo was also booked for possession of a controlled substance.
Due to these crimes generally being committed by suspects who are allegedly associated with organized theft rings and who have no connection to Santa Barbara County, a bail increase to $100,000 was granted, Ms. Zick said.
Although these two suspects were taken into custody and two catalytic converters were recovered, deputies responded to two additional reports of theft of catalytic converters in Carpinteria.
The first was in the 1000 block of Palmetto Way, and the second in the 1300 block of Dahlia Court was an interrupted theft where the catalytic converter was partially cut, Ms. Zick said.
She said the Sheriff’s Office would like to acknowledge the quick thinking of the victim who called 9-1-1 when they realized they were likely hearing a catalytic converter theft.
Ms. Zick explained the theft of catalytic converters is popular because they can be easily removed, they do not have identifying marks like serial numbers, and the components are made up of precious metals that can be resold to recyclers.
There are steps that can be taken to thwart these thefts including parking inside a garage or secured yard, installing motion detector lights near parking areas, installing a catalytic converter protection device, and educating neighbors to be on the look-out for thieves, Ms .Zick said.
— Dave Mason
Police investigate homicide
SANTA BARBARA — The Santa Barbara Police Department launched a homicide investigation after a victim died following a stabbing.
At 2 a.m. Sunday, the department’s Combined Communications Center received a report of an assault that occurred with a deadly weapon in the 500 block of North Milpas Street.
Several officers responded to the scene and found a victim who had been stabbed, Sgt. Ethan Ragsdale said. The victim was transported by ambulance to the Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital Emergency Department for medical treatment. The victim died from the injuries sustained during the stabbing.
“The initial investigation revealed the victim and the suspect had some sort of confrontation prior to the stabbing,” Sgt. Ragsdale said. “After the stabbing occurred, the suspect fled the area and is currently outstanding.”
Santa Barbara police detectives are investigating the homicide. Sgt. Ragsdale said there does not appear to be a threat to the public and that the incident appears to be isolated and not related to gangs.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Santa Barbara Police Department at 805-897-2355.
— Dave Mason