3 suspects in catalytic converter thefts arrested after pursuit from Encinitas to Orange County

San Diego County sheriff's deputies
San Diego County sheriff’s deputies recovered two catalytic converters and burglary tools after a pursuit early Wednesday, Dec. 7.
(San Diego County Sheriff’s Department)

CHP officers used spike strips to stop the car in Aliso Viejo; the driver and two passengers were arrested


Three men suspected in recent catalytic converter thefts were arrested early Wednesday, Dec. 7, after a pursuit from Encinitas to Orange County, a sheriff’s official said Thursday, Dec. 8.

The pursuit began about 4:30 a.m. after deputies on a crime suppression team spotted a red Dodge Charger involved in recent catalytic converter thefts in the region, sheriff’s Lt. Christopher Lawrence said in a statement.

Deputies tried to stop the car near Encinitas Boulevard and Seeman Drive, but the driver didn’t stop.

The car ran over several mailboxes on Seeman Drive, then went north on Interstate 5 as deputies gave chase.

In San Clemente, California Highway Patrol officers took over the pursuit. The chase ended when they used a spike strip that brought the vehicle to a stop near state Route 73 and the off-ramp to La Paz Road in Aliso Viejo.

Two passengers, a 41-year-old man and a 45-year-old man, were immediately detained, Lawrence said.

The lieutenant said the driver and a third passenger ran, but the driver, a 41-year-old man, was located during a search of the area. He, too, was arrested. Lawrence said the third passenger was not found.

Inside the vehicle deputies found two catalytic converters and various tools, Lawrence said.

The three men were booked into Vista Detention Facility on suspicion of several crimes, including possession of stolen property and possession of burglary tools.

The lieutenant said investigators believe the catalytic converters deputies found in the car were stolen in Chula Vista and National City. No further details about the thefts were released.

Anyone with information about the incident or case was asked to call the Sheriff’s Department at (858) 565-5200.