On Wednesday, the Livermore Police Department announced that after an 11-month investigation into catalytic converter thefts, they have arrested approximently 30 suspects while recovering
Police say along with the arrests, they recovered over 50 intact catalytic converters, seized $91,000 in cash, and recovered illegal weapons, drugs, recovered stolen vehicles, and identified multiple locations that were operating as chop shops for stolen property. Officers also located evidence showing hundreds of catalytic converters had been dismantled after being dropped at the chop shops.
Information Released by Livermore Police
A tip from an astute citizen in January 2021 leads to an 11-month investigation and the identification of approximately 30 suspects related to catalytic converter thefts. Seeing something and saying something resulted in the breaking up of a criminal theft organization.
In January 2021, an observant Livermore resident witnessed people acting suspiciously in their area. The resident was able to capture a partial license plate and reported what they saw to the Livermore Police Department. Officers responded to the area and learned a catalytic converter theft had occurred.
Frustrated with all the catalytic converter thefts that occurred in our City, a group of officers took the initiative to pursue this partial lead. With this tip and the partial license plate, the officers were able to identify possible suspects. During their investigation, the officers were able to apprehend the suspect approximately 4-days after the citizen reported the suspicious activity.
Knowing the trend of catalytic converter thefts was increasing throughout the State, LPD initiated an investigation to identify suspects and learn where catalytic converter thieves were taking them after the thefts. Over 5-months of investigation and with the assistance of LPD’s real-time intelligence unit, the officers developed substantial investigative leads that led them to three different counties and out of California.
Due to the large scale of this investigation based on the investigative leads developed, the Livermore Police Department and Pleasanton Police Department created a specialized full-time task force to pursue this investigation.
The task force consisted of four police officers and two sergeants. The task force pursued this investigation full-time for 2-months. On October 25, 2021, the Livermore Police Department and Pleasanton Police Department concluded the investigation by serving a search warrant in Stockton. As a result, they identified approximately 30 suspects related to catalytic converter thefts, recovered over 50 intact catalytic converters, seized $91,000 in cash, and recovered illegal weapons, drugs, recovered stolen vehicles, and identified multiple locations that were operating as chop shops for stolen property. Officers also located evidence showing hundreds of catalytic converters had been dismantled after being dropped at the chop shops.
Throughout the investigation, the task force identified a criminal theft ring where thieves would steal catalytic converters throughout California and Oregon and drop the stolen catalytic converters at these known drop locations in Stockton and Placer County. The two drop locations were used to sell the stolen property. The task force also learned that several suspects connected to the criminal theft ring were arrested for catalytic converter thefts and were bailed out of jail by other suspects associated with this theft ring. Once bailed out, they immediately went back to committing thefts.
This two-month investigative consisted of the task force writing over 25 search warrants, conducting thousands of hours of surveillance hours, shutting down two catalytic convert chop shops, and solving multiple catalytic convert thefts that occurred in both Livermore and Pleasanton. Officers even testified in a grand jury in Oregon on a known catalytic converter thief.
The investigation continues as the task force continues to seek arrest warrants for others involved in the criminal theft ring.
We want to thank the citizen who back in January saw something and reported it to the police department. Without this tip, we would not have been able to initiate this task force.
This investigation took the task force to multiple counties in California. We want to extend a special thank you to all those agencies that were more than willing to assist us in our investigation. Thank you to the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, Stockton Police Department, Modesto Police Department, San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Officer, Sacramento Police Department’s Air Operations Unit, California Highway Patrol’s Air Unit, and the Placer County Sheriff’s Office.