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Police Make Three More Arrests Involving Catalytic Converter Thefts

Bob Kronovetrealty
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By Lookout Staff

March 23, 2021 -- Santa Monica police on Monday arrested three Los Angeles men who were preparing to steal catalytic converters during a rash of vehicle thefts across the city.

Antonio Arteaga, 33; Bernabe Escobedo-Miranda, 30, and Daniel Galvan, 32, were arrested at 4:15 p.m. near 10th and Arizona for charges ranging from possession of burglary tools to motor vehicle theft, police said.

Antonio Arteaga Bernabe Escobedo-Miranda Daniel Galvan
From left:: Antonio Arteaga, Bernabe Escobedo-Miranda and Daniel Galvan (Courtesy SMPD)

The incident began when patrolling officers spotted one of the suspects standing in a carport "peering into the rear window of a parked Honda Civic," said SMPD spokesman Lt. Rudy Flores.

"Upon further investigation, officers discovered the Honda Civic was a stolen vehicle and there was a second suspect inside," Flores said.

The two suspects were in possession of multiple vehicle keys, a 12-inch crowbar and a lockpicking kit, Flores said.

crime tools At the same time, the driver of a white Pontiac with temporary Texas plates was seen parked a few feet away and "found to be working in concert with" the two other suspects.

The officers searched the vehicle and found burglary tools including a Sawzall "typically used in catalytic converter theft" and a stolen Amazon package, Flores said.

Arteaga was charged with receiving stolen property, possession of burglary tools and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Galvan and Escobedo-Miranda were charged with conspiring to commit a crime and possession of burglary tools.

Galvan was also charged with taking a vehicle without consent, while Escobedo-Miranda was charged with receiving stolen property.

Monday's arrests come less than two weeks after police arrested three suspects after they were caught in the act stealing a catalytic converter near 23rd Street and Arizona Avenue ("Suspects Arrested in Catalytic Converter Thefts Spiking Across the City," March 10, 2021).

Two other suspects were arrested on February 17 for stealing a catalytic converter near 16th Street and Idaho Avenue.

The theft of catalytic converters accounted for a dramatic spike in auto parts theft in Santa Monica last year ("Crime Dips During COVID-19 Shutdown, Calls for Service Plummet," February 19, 2021).

Reported incidents of auto theft surged from 108 in 2019 to 402 last year, a 272 percent increase. Of those about 57 percent involved thefts of catalytic converters.

Catalytic converters -- which are attached to the exhaust pipe to reduce the toxicity of emissions -- are valuable to scrap metal dealers, police said.

Anyone with information pertaining to Monday's incident should call the Santa Monica Police Department at (310) 458-8491.

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