SANTA MONICA—The Santa Monica Police Department arrested a suspect in connection to a catalytic converter that was stolen from a vehicle on November 3. The SMPD reported at 3:37 a.m., an officer traveling southbound in the 800 block of 17th Street spotted a male underneath a 2008 Honda CRV with his legs extending out into the traffic lane. As a result of the late hour and dim lighting the officer stopped to determine if the subject needed assistance or was possibly committing a crime. The officer parked his cruiser alongside the CRV and approached the subject who ignored the officer’s questions. When the officer looked under the vehicle he could see the subject had a flashlight and an electric cutting tool; he could see the car’s exhaust system had been damaged and the catalytic converter was partially removed.

The officer ordered the first subject (later identified as Francisco Casillas, Jr, 19, of Los Angeles) out from under the vehicle and called for additional officers to respond. The officer also located a second subject (identified as Samuel Medina, Jr., 33, of Los Angeles) who had been hiding behind the CRV.

Both individuals were arrested for 487(a) PC – Grand Theft and 496 PC – Burglary Tools and issued citations to appear per the LA County Emergency Bail Schedule.

Anyone with details pertaining to this incident or the individuals are asked to contact Detective Buus in the Criminal Investigations Division at 310-458-8943 or the Santa Monica Department’s Watch Commander (24 hours) at 310-458-8427.

To decrease the likelihood of catalytic converter theft, please follow these tips:

-Always park in well-lit areas or within your garage if possible.

-At shopping centers and other similar parking lots, park close to the entrance of the building or where there’s a lot of traffic.

-Visit a local muffler shop and have the converter secured to the vehicle’s frame with a couple of pieces of hardened steel welded to the frame.

-Check out the different types of catalytic converter theft deterrent systems at your local auto parts store or online.