Wednesday, June 20 , 2018, 8:10 pm | Fair 64º


Catalytic Converter Thieves Caught in the Act in Santa Barbara

At 3:16 a.m. Tuesday, officers with the Santa Barbara Police Department responded to a call of subjects tampering with the exhaust system of a Toyota 4-Runner in the 200 block of Mohawk Drive.

In light of the recent rash of catalytic converter thefts in the city, a perimeter was set up in the area of the call. The reporting party said that a red vehicle was seen parked and running next to the Toyota 4-Runner.

Officers drove into the 100 block of Mohawk Drive and saw a red car stopped in the roadway and a subject walking away from another 4-Runner parked in that block. When the subject saw the officers, he then got into the red car. Officers stopped the vehicle, carrying three occupants.

Officers observed tools in the vehicle consistent with tools capable of removing catalytic converters. A search of the vehicle revealed five catalytic converters in the trunk. Officers then found a Toyota 4-Runner with a missing catalytic converter parked in front of the reporting resident’s house.

Jose Eduardo Elvir, 26, of Los Angeles, Francisco Gegan Torres, 33, of Las Vegas, and Rafael Perez Marquez, 20, of Los Angeles were arrested.

Elvir was booked at Santa Barbara County Jail on charges of grand theft, possession of burglary tools, possession of stolen property, conspiracy, false information to a peace officer and violation of parole.  Torres and Marquez were booked on charges of grand theft, possession of burglary tools, possession of stolen property and conspiracy.

Lorenzo Duarte is a sergeant with the Santa Barbara Police Department.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >