Pickup truck with stolen catalytic converters crashes into MP’s car
A Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy suffered minor injuries when a pickup truck containing stolen catalytic converters rammed the officer’s vehicle in Santa Clarita early Saturday, authorities said.
Deputies launched a pursuit of a silver Honda Odyssey minivan near Highway 5 and Valencia Boulevard shortly before 3:15 a.m., said Lt. Brandon Barclay of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station. They called off the chase soon after as the driver started erratically, he said.
About 30 seconds later, the Burbank Police Department requested assistance regarding an unrelated report of a stolen vehicle in the 24500 block of Lyons Avenue, Barclay said. As deputies responded to that location, the van they were chasing earlier rammed into a deputy’s SUV near Highway 5 and Lyons Avenue, Barclay said.
“It’s like these guys were destined to go to jail,” he said.
The deputy was slightly injured and taken to hospital as a precaution. Two suspects in the van were taken into custody and taken to hospital. They suffered serious injuries, with one sustaining a broken jaw and a possible brain haemorrhage, Barclay said.
The suspected driver of the van fled on foot and was eventually found hiding in a tree behind a house with the help of an airship, Barclay said. The suspect was a parolee who fled San Luis Obispo, Barclay said. The names of the suspects were not immediately released.
Six to eight catalytic converters were recovered from the van, Barclay said. Thefts of catalytic converters have exploded since the start of the pandemic. The coins contain precious metals and can be quickly cut using power tools or simple handsaws, making them highly sought after by thieves, authorities say.
Due to global demand for critical emissions control devices, an ounce of precious metals can be worth thousands of dollars, authorities said.
A recent event hosted by the Los Angeles Police Department and sponsored by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, where people could have their cars’ vehicle identification numbers engraved on their catalytic converters, attracted hundreds of motorists. Etched VINs are meant to help law enforcement build a case against a thief and could deter recycling companies from dealing with stolen parts or looking the other way, authorities said.
Times writer Nathan Solis contributed to this report.