SANTA MONICA—The Santa Monica Police Department arrested two suspects for grand theft on June 28, after they were allegedly found in possession of stolen catalytic converters.
“At approximately 3am, the Santa Monica Emergency Dispatch Center received two calls regarding the sound of sawing and metal being cut in the area of Highland and Ocean Park,” said a statement released on the SMPD Twitter account. “Officers arrived and conducted a traffic stop in the area resulting in the recovery of 3 catalytic converters, saws and other tools.”
The suspects were identified as Andrew Diaz and Bryan Lima, both 21 years-old. They were arrested for grand theft and transported to the Santa Monica Jail.
The Santa Monica City Council motioned to pass a new ordinance on May 24 in response to the high levels of catalytic converter thefts in the city.
According to the SMPD, in 2022, 312 catalytic converters were stolen, and since January 2023, 215 accounts of catalytic converter thefts were reported as of May 22.
The ordinance allows police to fine people $500 for possessing unattached catalytic converters if they cannot provide proof of ownership. Police also have the ability to seize the catalytic converters.
By Paige Strickland