Arrests made for theft of catalytic converters
–At approximately 1:05 a.m. early Wednesday, the San Luis Obispo Police Department received a call from an alert citizen who reported hearing what sounded like metal being cut and believed it was involved in the recent thefts of catalytic converters. The caller reported seeing a dark minivan with a roof-mounted cargo rack in the area the cutting was heard. It was in the 100 Block of Mustang Drive, San Luis Obispo. The caller quickly notified the police. While responding one of the officers saw the described minivan as it was driving from the area and stopped it.
Three suspects were in the van along with all the tools needed to remove catalytic converters. Also located in the van were two catalytic converters that the suspect admitted to stealing earlier in the day.
The investigation led officers to a local hotel where additional tools and two more catalytic converters were found. The suspects told officers that those catalytic converters were stolen from Monterey County.
- Eric Staudinger, a 33-year-old resident of Concord.
- Nicholas Vanbuskirk, a 31-year-old resident of Pleasant Hill.
- Samantha Chavez, a 35-Year-old resident of Clearlake Oaks
All three suspects were booked at the San Luis Obispo County Jail for the following charges:
- Grand theft during a state emergency, conspiracy
- Possession of stolen property, burglary tools, vehicle tampering
This is an ongoing investigation and detectives are working with our partner agencies to find the owners of the additional converters located in the motel. If you have any information about this case, contact Detective Benedetti at (805) 594-8060 or Crime Stoppers at (805) 549-7867.