Catalytic converter thefts suspects nabbed

Two Sacramento men were arrested early April 14 after being allegedly caught with a stolen catalytic converter in Cameron Park, where such thefts have been rising in recent weeks.

At 2:45 a.m. that Thursday deputies conducted a traffic stop of a vehicle near Bass Lake Road and Green Valley Road in Cameron Park.

Deputies noticed the two men — Thao Xiong, 31, and Xeng Vue, 35 — both of Sacramento began acting suspiciously  when asked why they were in the area, according to Sheriff’s Lt. Bryan Golmitz.

Vue was determined to have been on probation for receiving stolen property, specifically catalytic converters, so deputies preformed a probation search on the vehicle.

During the search deputies reportedly located a pipe cutter and other tools consistent with catalytic converter theft. In the trunk of the vehicle an actual catalytic converter was located.

Vue and Xiong were booked on suspicion of receiving stolen property and conspiracy to commit grand theft. Vue was also booked on suspicion of illegally entering the country.

Vue remains in custody in lieu of $42,500 bail. Xiong remains in jail in lieu of $35,000 bail.

Authorities were able to locate the owner of the allegedly stolen catalytic converter and return it, said Golmitz.

In recent weeks, Cameron Park had experienced a rash of catalytic converter thefts, mostly from older Toyota pickups. Since the end of March deputies have responded to at least 15 reports of converter thefts.

Catalytic converters contain trace amounts of platinum and palladium metals that sell for between $777 and $1,700 per ounce to recyclers.

The converters can be sold to recyclers for $100 to $200 each. Car owners, however, are left footing the big bill, as the replacement costs can range from several hundred to several thousand dollars, depending on the car’s year, make and model.

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Posted by on Apr 26 2011.
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