CUPERTINO (CBS SF) – Two men were arrested after Santa Clara County sheriff’s deputies found them allegedly cutting the catalytic converter out of a vehicle in the parking lot of a Cupertino shopping center early Thursday morning, sheriff’s officials said.

Deputies spotted a suspicious vehicle around 3:30 a.m. in the area of a shopping plaza on South De Anza Boulevard near Rodrigues Avenue.

Usvaldo Frias, 33, and Domingo Espinoza, 41, were allegedly cutting the equipment out of a parked commercial Honda van, according to the sheriff’s office.

Deputies also found two saws, burglary tools and a floor jack inside the suspects’ vehicle, as well as methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia in their possession. Both were booked into county jail on suspicion of multiple offenses.

The sheriff’s office says there has been a significant increase recently in the theft of catalytic converters, and motorists are advised to park cars in a garage or highly visible area when possible, as well as to install an after-market anti-theft device.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to call the sheriff’s office at (408) 808-4500 or an anonymous tip line at (408) 808-4431.

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