By SDCN Staff
San Diego, CA–Three alleged catalytic converter thieves were arrested after leading authorities on a vehicle pursuit in San Diego County, authorities said.
On August 26 just after 3 a.m., North Coastal Sheriff’s Deputies observed a vehicle traveling southbound on Interstate 5. The vehicle had recently been involved in several catalytic converter thefts and felony failure to yield cases in the Los Angeles and Orange County areas, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department said in a news release.
Deputies attempted to stop the vehicle, but the driver failed to yield, and a vehicle pursuit ensued. The vehicle exited Via De La Valle and continued east until the driver stopped and ran into a field. The driver evaded capture during the initial search of the area. Two passengers were detained and later arrested for narcotics and burglary tool violations. The tools found were indicative of catalytic converter thefts including floor jacks and reciprocating saws.
The passengers were identified as 32-year-old Pedro Martinez and 25-year-old Andrea Villalobos of Los Angeles.
At about 10 a.m., a resident found a man hiding on his property in the 16000 block of Via Del Alba in Rancho Santa Fe. The description of the man matched that of the wanted driver. North Coastal Patrol Deputies, Crime Suppression Team members, and ASTREA began searching the area. The driver was found and began running from deputies. After a brief chase, he was captured without incident and arrested.
The driver was identified as 36-year-old Luis Zepeda-Ochoa of Los Angeles. Zepeda-Ochoa had an outstanding felony warrant for larceny and was also wanted for numerous catalytic converter theft cases in California.
All three suspects were booked into the Vista Detention Facility.