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Two Lompoc men arrested for vehicle theft, attempted catalytic converter theft

Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office
Posted at 6:00 PM, May 26, 2022

Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s deputies arrested two Lompoc men for theft of a vehicle and attempted theft of a catalytic converter.

Deputies were called out to the 1900-block of Elmwood Drive in Tanglewood at around 12:02 p.m.for an attempted theft of a catalytic converter.

When deputies arrived, they learned two suspects were attempting to saw the catalytic converter off a vehicle when they were confronted by the vehicle owner. Deputies say one of the men swung a collapsed scissor-jack at the victim before both men ran into a nearby field. Deputies ran the license plate on the vehicle that the suspects abandoned and found that it was reported as stolen from Lompoc earlier in the day. Deputies began a search of the nearby area requesting air support as well as a K9 unit to assist.

The K9 was released into tall brush where he encountered and apprehended one of the suspects, later identified as 35-year-old Francisco Meza-Cardenas. The second subject, later identified as 31-year-old Abel Barajas Zavala, continued to run through the field and was taken into custody shortly afterwards by deputies who were guided by air support.

Meza-Cardenas was transported to the hospital where he was treated for his injuries from the K9. Both suspects were booked for resisting arrest, attempted grand theft, vehicle theft, and conspiracy. Meza-Cardenas was also booked for assault with a deadly weapon as well as two outstanding warrants. He is being held on $60,000 bail. Zavala was released without bail.