After a multi-county chase at high speed, L.A. police arrested suspected catalytic converter thieves

After a high-speed chase that started in Santa Barbara County, ended in Ventura, four people from Los Angeles were taken into custody Monday night.

Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to a neighborhood in Goleta around 10 p.m. for a report of a possible catalytic converter theft that had just occurred.

Deputies immediately found the vehicle suspected of fleeing the scene after arriving on the scene.

Deputies tried to pull the vehicle over but the driver didn’t obey and continued on the 101 Freeway at an extremely high speed. Due to safety concerns and high speeds, deputies initially pursued the vehicle but ended the chase.

Deputies in Carpinteria, which is south of Goleta on the other side of Santa Barbara, picked up the pursuit when the vehicle reentered Sheriff’s Office jurisdiction.

Again the vehicle sped off at high speeds and deputies were forced to terminate the pursuit, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

The Ventura Police Department began providing assistance as the vehicle crossed into Ventura County.

The vehicle continued to drive fast as it crossed Highway 101, and then drove through downtown Ventura. The driver continued to evade law enforcement until their vehicle crashed into a “fixed object’ in the area of Main and Figueroa streets.

Four people ran from the wrecked vehicle but were quickly captured by law enforcement officers from both counties.

They were identified as Saul Tamayo (32), Wilber Rabanales (37), Pedro Martinez (32), and Edith Godinez (33) All four people are residents of the Los Angeles area, according to the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office.

They were all booked in Santa Barbara County Main Jail and could face felony charges of grand theft, evading law enforcement and hit and run.

Tamayo was found to have outstanding warrants for arrest and Rabanalez was taken into custody. Martinez and Godinez were both released without bail because of local COVID-19 emergency bail schedules.

A search of their vehicle found more than a half-dozen stolen catalytic converters and burglar tools, the Sheriff’s Office said.

The Sheriff’s Office will now begin the process of identifying the owners of the stolen car parts.

In an effort to prevent thefts, authorities continue to encourage residents to have their catalytic conversions etched. In an effort to deter thieves, many law enforcement agencies work with local auto bodies shops to create a unique ID and logo on your catalytic convert.

If possible, drivers are encouraged to park in well-lit areas and leave their vehicles in a garage.


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