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City Manager's Office
City Manager's Office
Press Contact: Byron White, Berkeley Police Department, (510) 981-5780

CATALYTIC CONVERTER THEFT TRENDS

Berkeley, California (Friday, January 17, 2020) - This month, the Berkeley Police Department has noticed a trend in catalytic converter thefts.  Since the beginning of the year, there have been over two dozen thefts.  This recurring trend is happening throughout the City—mostly during the overnight hours.  We have caught some thieves (see below), but this crime of opportunity happens so quickly that we need your help as well.

  • Here are a few ideas that may help prevent your vehicle’s catalytic converter from being stolen:
  • Consider parking your vehicle inside a garage, if available.
  • Park in well-lit areas during darkness.
  • Park in areas where others will frequently see or be nearby your vehicle.  For example, parking near a busy sidewalk or the windows of a busy business.
  • Park near security cameras, if possible.
  • Speak with your local vehicle repair shop about the options available to make your vehicle’s catalytic converter more difficult to steal.
  • Report anyone suspiciously working underneath a vehicle with a flashlight in the middle of the night—especially if you hear the grinding sound of a power saw as well.

Recent Arrests:

After a December 29th catalytic converter theft from the Berkeley Bowl parking lot (2020 Oregon Street), investigators identified Luis Martinez (Male, 31 years old, no address given) as the person responsible for theft and obtained a warrant for his arrest.  On January 12th 2020, San Leandro PD officers spotted Luis Martinez in their city and detained him for his outstanding warrant.  On January 15th, the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office charged Luis Martinez with felony grand theft.

Case 2019-00073751

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On January 14th at 3:21 am, officers responded to Euclid Avenue (north of Marin Avenue) after receiving a report that someone was possibly trying to steal a catalytic converter from a vehicle parked on the street.  Within minutes, the suspects were able to cut-off the catalytic converter and drive away.  A few minutes later, officers spotted the vehicle driving on Marin Avenue (near Masonic Avenue) and stopped it.  Inside the vehicle, officers found a battery-powered reciprocating saw (with spare batteries and blades) along with the stolen catalytic converter.

The driver (Richard Harold Reynolds, Male, 57 years old, Richmond, CA) and passenger (Jeni Marie Wadsworth, Female, 47 years old, no address given) were arrested on suspicion of grand theft.  Reynolds was also arrested on suspicion of violating his parole and possession of burglary tools.

Case 2020-00002377

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