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Duo arrested for alleged catalytic converter thefts

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Two Sacramento men were arrested for alleged catalytic converter thefts throughout Rocklin. San Luang Saechao, 43, and 23-year-old Vai Vang, both of Sacramento, were arrested after an alert resident spotted two subjects removing car parts from a neighbor’s truck at 5:36 a.m. Tuesday. Rocklin Police arrived at Eagle Drive and located a suspicious-looking car in the area. Upon stopping the car, officers found three catalytic converters, a pipe cutter, a GPS navigation device and various other tools. Saechao and Vang were arrested for attempted grand theft, possession of stolen property, possession of burglary tools and conspiracy to commit a crime. Both were booked into Placer County Jail and each have a $5,000 bail. The GPS unit inside the car was programmed with addresses in Rocklin, Lincoln and Sacramento, which assisted officers in locating victims in Rocklin and Lincoln. Located in the exhaust system, converters contain precious metals like platinum, rhodium or palladium. Melted down, they can fetch upwards of $1,500 per ounce. According to police, thieves usually just sell it to a scrap yard or a recycler for about $30. According to Rocklin Police, a rash of catalytic converter thefts have been plaguing Rocklin neighborhoods since the beginning of the year. A new state law, which took effect Jan. 1, hopes to curb the crime and mandates recyclers create a paper trail for all converter transactions to deter criminals from selling stolen units as scrap. Recyclers must pay for converters with a check mailed to the seller’s address or picked up after a three-day delay, which allows time for officers to catch up with the thief. ~ Staff report