Three juveniles are in custody and nearly a dozen catalytic converters have been recovered following a short pursuit that ended in a crash in Ventura early Tuesday morning, according to police.
Around 4:20 a.m., an alert resident witnessed thieves taking a catalytic converter from a neighbor’s car in the 2500 block of Harbor Boulevard and dialed 911, the Ventura Police Department stated in a news release.
The witness provided a description of the suspect vehicle and told the dispatcher that the car was last seen leaving the area on Harbor Boulevard.
Patrol officers in the area began searching nearby neighborhoods, during which time a sergeant came upon the juveniles allegedly trying to steal another catalytic converter, according to the release.
The suspects then tried to get away in their vehicle, leaving the scene at a high rate of speed, police officials said.
A pursuit was initiated and the vehicle crashed a short time later, according to the release.
All three juveniles were taken into custody after the chase ended, authorities said. They were transported to a local hospital to receive treatment for minor injuries.
Investigators found 11 catalytic converters in their possession — at least three of which were taken in the city of Ventura — plus car jacks and burglary tools that can be used to take parts from vehicles, according to police.
The minors were not identified due to being underage, but all three were males from Los Angeles, the release stated.
They are expected to be booked into juvenile hall on suspicion of conspiracy, grand theft, possession of burglary tools, vandalism and possession of stolen property. The driver also potentially faces a felony evading charge.
All of the stolen catalytic converters appear to be similar to ones found on a Toyota Prius, and authorities are working to locate the victims.
Anyone with information about the case or who has been a recent victim of a catalytic converter theft in Ventura is asked to call Detective Karl Reyes at 805-339-4476.