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Men arrested after catalytic converter thefts in Northern California, including Napa

Men arrested after catalytic converter thefts in Northern California, including Napa

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vehicle exhaust catalytic converter

Detectives this week arrested two Sacramento County men in connection with dozens of catalytic converter thefts from vehicles throughout Northern California, including Napa, Davis police officials said.

Shaneel Lal, 37, of Sacramento and Dao Xiong, 43, of Elk Grove were arrested Tuesday after the detectives served search warrants as part of a five-month investigation, the Davis Police Department announced in a news release Wednesday.

Lal and Xiong were booked at the Yolo County on 61 counts of grand theft on suspicion of stealing catalytic converters from vehicles in the Sacramento area, Yolo, El Dorado and Napa counties, and the Bay Area, police officials said.

The theft charges also include enhancements for allegedly committing the crimes while awaiting prosecution in other theft cases. Police officials said Lal and Xiong had already been arrested on theft-related charges and are suspected of continuing to steal catalytic converters after their release from jail.

Lal and Xiong remained in custody at the jail Wednesday, and their bail was set at $250,000 each.

Catalytic converter thefts have plagued Napa in recent months, with Napa Police and Sheriff's deputies participating in several arrests. Napa Police were not available to comment Thursday on possible activity by Lal and Xiong in Napa.

Thefts of catalytic converters are a national problem because they contain valuable metals that can be recycled and sold for a profit. The police department said California has laws that make it difficult for catalytic converter to be sold here, but the materials can be moved out of the country and sold overseas, which makes it difficult to track.

Police officials reminded residents to be vigilant and call 911 if they see or hear anything suspicious. They also urged residents to protect their vehicles by:

• parking in well-lighted and highly visible areas;

• parking high-profile vehicles, such as pickups, next to low-profile vehicles to make it tough for thieves to access catalytic converters on taller vehicles;

• considering having a cage installed around your catalytic converter;

• having your license plate number or vehicle identification number etched on your catalytic converter to make it easier for investigators to trace if it's stolen.

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Most-read police briefs on NapaValleyRegister.com

Here is a roundup of other police and fire reports in Napa County.

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