SAN BRUNO (CBS SF) — San Bruno police officers have arrested three men as they were allegedly trying to remove the catalytic converter from the bottom of a parked car.

The three men – a 23-year-old San Francisco man, a 21-year-old San Francisco man and a 19-year-old South San Francisco man – were seen by a patrol officer about 1:25 a.m. Saturday in the area of Crystal Springs Road and Crestmoor Drive tampering with a parked vehicle.

The officer detained the trio without incident, police said. The three suspects, police said, were arrested on suspicion of
attempted grand theft and criminal conspiracy.

San Bruno and San Mateo County in general, have experienced a significant increase in catalytic converter thefts over the past few weeks.

Such thefts have been going on regionally, and nationally for years; the converters – designed to make the exhaust pushed through them less toxic – contain three metals (platinum, palladium and rhodium) that can fetch good money from recyclers.

Anyone with information related to this case is urged to contact the San Bruno Police Department at (650) 616-7100 or to email Information can be left anonymously.