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.

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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.

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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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