IRVINE, Calif.—The Irvine Police Department arrested an individual with a cut catalytic converter using a newly passed city ordinance that requires those in possession of detached converters to show documentation for ownership, police announced Feb. 17.
An Irvine Police officer pulled over a black Toyota Camry near the cross streets of Main and Cartwright for equipment violations on Feb. 12, according to the department.
The female passenger admitted to having meth in her possession, Sgt. Karie Davies, a spokeswoman for the department, told The Epoch Times. After a search of the vehicle, a cut catalytic converter was found in the vehicle’s trunk, along with cutting tools.
Juan Gallardo-Noyola, of Orange, was arrested and taken to the Orange County Jail, police said.
Converters, which are a part of a vehicle’s exhaust system, convert fumes into cleaner emissions and improve the car’s overall efficiency. They contain varying amounts of precious metals inside, some worth more than gold, which makes them targets for thieves.
Prior to the city-wide ordinance, police could not arrest suspected thieves with cut catalytic converters, as it is difficult to trace stolen converters back to the victim since converters do not have vehicle identification numbers on them.
As a result, the Irvine City Council adopted a new municipal code in November 2021 that requires any catalytic converter not attached to a vehicle to also have documentation, or proof that a person is in lawful possession of it.
This was the first time the department utilized the new code to make an arrest, Davies said.