By the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office
Sheriff’s deputies, along with a Sheriff’s K-9 unit and California Highway Patrol (CHP) have apprehended two suspected catalytic converter thieves.
On Sunday, March 5, 2023, at approximately 4:58 a.m., deputies responded to the 500-block of Sertoma Way in Buellton for a report of thefts of catalytic converters in-progress.
While they were on their way, Sheriff’s dispatch relayed that the suspects were seen fleeing the area in a Fiat. Deputies spotted a vehicle matching that description near McDonald’s in Buellton. When deputies attempted to stop the vehicle, the suspects fled and the driver entered the opposing lanes of traffic, driving southbound in the northbound lanes of Highway 101. In the interest of public safety, deputies discontinued their pursuit of the vehicle and shared the suspect and vehicle description with CHP who located the vehicle further south on the 101, in the southbound lanes. CHP attempted to stop the vehicle and the driver again entered the opposing lanes and the pursuit was terminated. CHP set up a spike strip on highway 101 near Las Varas Canyon where they successfully disable the vehicle that was travelling southbound in the northbound lanes. After a short foot pursuit, the first suspect 27-year-old Nathaniel Santiago Reyes of El Monte was taken into custody at 5:28 a.m.
The second suspect, 32-year-old Bryan Arciniega of Los Angeles was successfully tracked by a Sheriff’s K9 unit to his hiding place in a palm tree and apprehended at 6:30 a.m. Deputies recovered two stolen catalytic converters from the suspects vehicles. Deputies have identified the vehicles that they were stolen from and are not looking for any additional victims associated with this incident.
Reyes was booked at the Main jail for vandalism (felony), attempt to commit grand theft (felony), possession of burglary tools (felony), possession of stolen property (felony), conspiracy (felony), obstructing a peace officer (misdemeanor), and possession of a controlled substance. He is being held on an increased bail of $75,000.
Arciniega was booked at the Main Jail for reckless evasion (felony), reckless driving (misdemeanor), vandalism (felony), attempt to commit grand theft (felony), possession of burglary tools (felony), possession of stolen property (felony), conspiracy (felony), and obstructing a peace officer (misdemeanor). Arciniega is being held on an enhanced bail of $150,000.