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Two arrested in Santa Cruz for alleged catalytic converter theft crimes

Posted on February 21, 2012 in Criminal Defense

Santa Cruz police claim that fingerprints found on an abandoned car led them to two Sacramento men who have now been arrested for theft crimes. Law enforcement believes that the two brothers can be linked to stealing at least five catalytic converters. Although police only believe they can link the two men to five alleged thefts of catalytic converters, Santa Cruz police say that at least 56 catalytic converters have been taken from automobiles in the city since last July. Two other men were arrested in Watsonville on February 1 in an unrelated investigation.

Those two men are also accused of stealing converters from automobiles to be sold to recyclers. Each of the men arrested in Watsonville have preliminary hearings scheduled where the judge will review evidence to see whether the prosecutors have sufficient evidence to have the criminal case proceed. A ruling at a preliminary hearing is not a finding of guilt, but only a determination of whether the state has a minimum amount of evidence for the case to proceed.

The most recent arrests in Santa Cruz reportedly followed the discovery of two abandoned cars in an area that law enforcement claims is a hot spot for catalytic converter thefts. Police say that they found fingerprints on the two cars leading law enforcement to the two men from Sacramento. Santa Cruz police claim that the two cars had been stolen and the catalytic converters were removed before the cars were abandoned.

A 21-year-old arrested in Santa Cruz has been arraigned on charges of vehicle theft, grand theft and possession of stolen property. He pled not guilty to the charges and is awaiting a preliminary hearing on the charges. Sources say that he is not being held in custody pending further proceedings. His older brother, a 32-year-old, still awaits arraignment on similar charges. The older brother is also not being held in custody.

Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel, "Man arraigned in catalytic converter thefts, preliminary hearing set for two other suspects," Jessica M. Pasko, Feb. 17, 2012

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