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Santa Barbara County Sheriff's deputies arrest alleged catalytic converter thieves

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Posted at 6:20 PM, Mar 06, 2023

Santa Barbara County Sheriff's deputies arrested two men suspected of stealing catalytic converters after multiple car chases, officials announced Monday.

Deputies said they received a report of thefts of catalytic converters in progress right before 5 a.m. Sunday morning on the 500-block of Sertoma Way.

While deputies were on their way, Sheriff's dispatch relayed that the suspects were seen fleeing the area in a Fiat, according to officials.

Deputies found a car matching that description near McDonald's in Buellton. When deputies tried to stop the vehicle, the suspects drove off into the opposing lanes of traffic on Highway 101.

Officials said deputies decided to stop the pursuit in the interest of public safety and shared the suspect and vehicle description with CHP.

CHP officers later found the vehicle further south on Highway 101, in the southbound lanes but when officers tried to stop the vehicle, the drivers entered the opposing lanes again.

That pursuit was also terminated.

CHP officers then set up a spike strip on highway 101 near Las Varas Canyon where they successfully stopped the driver from traveling southbound in the northbound lanes.

27-year-old Nathaniel Santiago Reyes of El Monte was arrested after a short foot pursuit, officials said.

The second suspect, 32-year-old Bryan Arciniega of Los Angeles, was successfully tracked by a Sheriff's k-9 unit to his hiding place in a palm tree.

According to the Sheriff's Office, deputies received two stolen catalytic converters from the suspects' fiat. They have also identified the vehicles that they were stolen from.

Both Reyes and Arciniega were booked at the Main Jail for multiple felony charges, including vandalism, attempt to commit grand theft, possession of burglary tools, etc.