Car converters are built with expensive metals that thieves can turn to sell to recycling centers.
Two men are accused of stealing expensive parts from parked cars and trucks.
Plainclothes detectives and special auto theft task force officers arrested Joseph Brouillette and Manual Salido in the Pacific Beach/Mission Beach area early Wednesday morning, as they stole catalytic converters off of two Toyota pick-ups in a beach area parking lot.
Police say these two suspects are responsible for many of the catalytic convert thefts now happening in now happening in San Diego County. Both men had recently been released from jail on similar charges.
San Diego Police Lt. Al Leso says the suspects, who live in Mexico and allegedly crossed the border frequently to San Diego to commit crimes, were followed by detectives from San Ysidro to Chula Vista, and then to the beach area. Leso says stolen property and burglary tools were found in the vehicle the two suspects were driving.
The suspects are scheduled for arraignment this afternoon in the South Bay courthouse, in Chula Vista.
The converters are part of a vehicle's exhaust and emissions system. They contain valuable metals that can be re-sold to recycling companies for cash.
Victims of those thefts must have their cars towed to an auto dealership or muffler repair shop. If they don't have insurance, they will pay hundreds of dollars, or more, to replace those converters, says Wally Beggs, who owns Wally's World of Mufflers in El Cajon.
Catalytic converter thefts have been a chronic problem for decades, and thefts increase when the prices for the metals inside them go up.