41-year-old man arrested in connection to June 17 theft
By Sam Catanzaro
A man arrested in Santa Monica this week for stealing a catalytic converter was found to be in possession of over 15 grams of methamphetamine.
According to the Santa Monica Police Department (SMPD), on June 17 around 3:30 a.m., officers responded to the 900 block of 4th Street to investigate a theft. The reporting party told police they had heard noises coming from the unsecured sub garage of their apartment complex and observed a male underneath a vehicle.
SMPD says officers quickly arrived on the scene and detained the suspect and a female passenger who were preparing to leave in a vehicle.
‘A subsequent search of the suspect vehicle revealed a catalytic converter (not belonging to the vehicle he was under), tools consistent with catalytic converter theft and over 15 grams of methamphetamine,” the SMPD said.
Officers learned the male suspect was on probation for burglary and grand theft auto.
The male suspect, Francis Alvarado, a 41-year-old man from Los Angeles, was transported to the SMPD Jail and booked for possession of stolen property and methamphetamine.
According to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Alvarado is currently being held in the Twin Towers Correctional Facility on a $75,000 bond. Alvarado is scheduled to appear in court on July 6.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) recently released a report showing catalytic converter theft has spiked due to three precious metals found inside the converters: palladium, rhodium and platinum. An ounce of rhodium costs roughly $15,000. For comparison, an ounce of gold costs around $1,800.
According to a recent study from Carfax, the following are the 10-most targeted vehicles for catalytic converter theft in California: 2001-21 Toyota Prius; 1985-2021 Ford F-Series; 1989-2020 Honda Accord; 1990-2022 Ford Econoline; 1999-2021 Chevrolet Silverado; 2007-20 Subaru Outback; 2007-17 Jeep Patriot; 2003-11 Honda Element; 1998-2020 Subaru Forester; 1995-2021 Toyota Tacoma.
“The West has many of the same top targets as the national list, but the Prius sits atop the list instead of the Ford F-Series pickup, no doubt because the hybrid is incredibly popular in areas – such as California – with high gas prices and strict emissions laws,” Carfax wrote.