NOVATO (CBS SF) — Authorities discovered a cache of several hundred catalytic converters in a Novato storage space Wednesday, leading to the arrest of one suspect in a possible fencing operation.
A tip from a citizen led Marin County Sheriff’s Deputies to investigate a storage unit at Novato Self Storage on Binford Road Wednesday, where someone was reportedly cutting up exhaust parts. Responding deputies arrived to find Abner Deleon Cifuentes and his long-term girlfriend Elizabeth Herrera cutting up catalytic converters, in a space filled with hundreds of them.READ MORE: Hertl’s Hat Trick Leads Sharks Past Flames, 5-3
Further investigation found the converters were stolen, with Cifuentes and Herrera unable to provide any evidence of knowing who owned the converters. Evidence also showed that many more converters had been disassembled there.READ MORE: COVID: High Demand For Vaccines, Boosters Strains Staffing At San Mateo Clinic
In total, the couple had 300 catalytic converters with more than 60 of them being from Toyota Priuses — the prime target of converter thefts across the state. Receipts show that the pair sold the wares to a recycler in Southern California, selling the business over 2,500 catalytic converters since January 2021, and made several thousands of dollars.MORE NEWS: Firm Once Owned By 'Pharma Bro' Shkreli To Pay $40 Million To Settle Price Gouging Lawsuit
Deputies charged Cifuentes and Herrera with possession of stolen property, failure to maintain records related to the purchase or receipt of used catalytic convertors, and operating an auto dismantler without a license.