PETALUMA (CBS SF) — Petaluma Police arrested two East Bay residents early Tuesday morning on suspicion of catalytic converter thefts after they fled from pursuing officers and crashed into a tree, police said.
Officers responded shortly before 5:10 a.m. Tuesday to the 700 block of Keokuk Street after a resident reported hearing a drilling sound coming from his Toyota Prius and witnessed two suspects near his car.
Officers searched the area and one located a vehicle in the neighborhood that matched the resident’s vehicle description. An attempt to stop the suspect vehicle led the driver to speed away south on Howard Street.
Due to the reckless driving, the officer terminated the pursuit. However, shortly afterward, officers found the suspect vehicle had struck a tree in the area of Sixth and A streets.
Officers checked the vehicle’s passengers, 36-year-old Fabian DeLeon Beas of San Leandro and 34-year-old Omar Bonilla Villalta of Oakland, and found Villalta had a handgun in his possession, police said.
A check of the vehicle led to the discovery of two catalytic converters and tools to cut the exhaust components. Both Villalta and Beas suffered moderate injuries from the collision and were admitted to a hospital for treatment.
Villalta was arrested on suspicion of felony evasion causing an injury, grand theft, conspiracy, and possession of a concealed firearm. Beas, who was found to be on felony probation in Alameda County, was arrested on suspicion of grand theft and conspiracy.
Investigators later determined the suspect vehicle was reported as stolen.
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