4 arrested for Roseville-Rocklin catalytic converter thefts

8:40 PM, Jan 12, 2012   |    comments
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  • Stolen catalytic converters in Rocklin, CA.

ROSEVILLE, CA - Roseville police arrested four men Thursday suspected in a string of overnight catalytic converter thefts.

Police spokeswoman Dee Dee Gunther said an alert neighbor tipped off police about a theft occurring in the vicinity of Crocker Ranch Road and Blue Oaks Boulevard in Roseville around 3:45 a.m.

Arriving officers were able to immediately arrest two individuals and caught a third inside a police perimeter.  The fourth suspect was later arrested in Sacramento.

Roseville police found a number of catalytic converters in the suspects' possession linked to overnight thefts in Roseville and Rocklin.

Arrested on suspicion of grand theft and possession of stolen property were Jovi Toua Vang, 20; Cai Vang, 19; Chee Jeff Vang, 20; and Tou Vang, 25.

Gunther said area law enforcement agencies were working to halt an "unprecedented epidemic of metal thefts in the region."
The California Highway Patrol, CHP's Investigative Services Unit, Sacramento Police Department, Sacramento County Sheriff's Department, Sacramento County Probation, SacCATS (Sacramento's auto theft task force), Placer County's Regional Auto Theft Task Force, Rocklin Police Department and Folsom Police Department participated in this investigation.

Metal facts

- With metal prices on the rise, there's been an increase in the theft of precious metals. Street lights and air conditioning units are stripped for copper; water fittings for the brass, catalytic converters for rhodium and platinum. According to the Nationwide Insurance website, rhodium sells for as much as $9,500 per ounce and platinum goes at about $2,000 an ounce.

- Recyclers pay $100 to $150 for a catalytic converter. The victim of catalytic converter theft typically pay much more to repair his vehicle, not counting the inconvenience.

- The U.S. Department of Energy has figured precious metal theft at more than $1 billion a year.

California law

In an effort slow thefts for precious metals, California requires scrap metal recyclers and buyers to:

- Obtain seller's fingerprints.

- Take photo of seller.

- Make a copy of seller's driver's license.

- Note seller's vehicle license number and vehicle description.

- Record description of material bought and date and place of transaction.

- Photograph or videotape material purchased. Must tag and hold metal sales unless they have a digital photograph or video to identify the metal.

- Requires a three-business day waiting period before the seller can receive payment for non-ferrous (ii.e. copper, brass, aluminum, stainless steel) material. The general exception is if the seller completes five or more transactions on five or more different days each month for three consecutive months starting Dec. 1, 2008.

- More information on Assembly Bill 844 (2008) regarding scrap metal transactions here.


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