Two Arrested for Catalytic Converter Thefts in Buellton

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.


Written by sbsheriff

Press releases written by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office

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  1. I don’t think engraving info on a catalytic converter will mean a thing to the people that buy them from the thieves.
    On “catch and release” Governor Newsom only recently lifted the COVID state of emergency, 2/28/2023. The state of emergency resulted in judges reducing jail populations to reduce overcrowding. Overcrowding was redefined to have COVID social distancing possible in jail and prison. This program resulted in very quick processing out for non violent offenders. This is a good idea, but for people for whom theft, burglary, drug sales etc is a vocation, they simply get out, go back to work stealing your stuff, selling drugs. They tend to have popular areas where they like to work, so if I live in Buellton, I see it like this: if they are in jail for three days, that 3 days when that guy isn’t stealing my catalytic converter. I want to keep mine, because its expensive. I’ve got no moral imperative to finance someone’s theft heavy lifestyle regardless to why they choose to steal. So, I’d prefer a longer window of theft relief

    • There is a difference between someone accused of a crime and someone intentionally evading arrest by recklessly driving the wrong way on the freeway. There are eyewitness, stolen items in the vehicle, drugs and burglary tools. They endangered innocent people’s lives and probably would have killed someone had this been a different time of day. They don’t deserve bail. Once you lead police on a chase like that bail should be out the window for the driver.

    • It’s bizarre that all these armchair law enforcement experts think out on bail means they’re “released.” They still have a court date and punishment for their crimes. Do you have any alternatives in mind? Maybe we could just throw everyone in jail before they go to court and pay billions for a new facility, transport, food, staffing, etc? Or put them in DLG plaza and throw tomatoes at them? If you have any other assorted unconstitutional macho nonsense in mind, let us know!

    • “Catch and release”??? What a simple thing to post. The right to bail is guaranteed by our Constitution. Would you prefer Iranian “due process”? If we just decide to punish people accused of crimes without the bother of lawyers, judges, trials and sentencing hearings we are abandoning centuries of progress. Please think before you repeat stuff that you hear in the rabbit holes.

    • I don’t believe in the bail system at all. It is inherently unjust and should be abolished. And those who blatantly break the law by evading arrest leading police on a dangerous chase the wrong way on a major highway don’t deserve to be out. Just as those who shoot at law enforcement or innocent people . Give them a speedy trial and be done with it.

  2. Vibrating engraving tools are inexpensive. They are available on Amazon for $18.95.
    Engrave your vehicle’s VIN and description on the catalytic converters, so they are traceable when the thieves go to cash them in.
    The sheriff could set up a ramp where the car could be driven up, and the catalytic converters marked by a mechanic for a nominal fee.
    If all cars had marked catalytic converters, I think the theft rate would plummet.

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