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SLOPD arrests 3 people suspected of catalytic converter thefts

catalytic converter theft slopd.jpeg
Posted at 3:24 PM, Feb 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-24 18:24:10-05

San Luis Obispo police arrested three people from Northern California who are suspected of multiple catalytic converter thefts.

Police say a resident in the 100 block of Mustang Drive called police just after 1 a.m. on Wednesday to report hearing what sounded like metal being cut, concerned it may be related to recent catalytic converter thefts.

The citizen reported a dark minivan with a roof-mounted cargo rack in the area at the time.

Police say an officer responding to the call spotted the minivan with three people inside and stopped it.

They say two catalytic converters were found inside the van, along with the tools needed to remove them from a vehicle. Investigators say additional tools and two more catalytic converters were found at a local hotel associated with the suspects.

Police say they admitted to stealing the catalytic converters.

The three suspects - Nicholas Vanbuskirk, Samantha Chavez, and Eric Staudinger - were arrested and booked into San Luis Obispo County Jail on suspicion of grand theft, conspiracy, possession of stolen property, possession of burglary tools, and vehicle tampering.

Police say this investigation is still ongoing and anyone with further information is urged to contact Detective Benedetti at (805) 594-8060 or Crime Stoppers at (805) 549-STOP.