Catalytic converter thieves flee to Oceanside Police headquarters

Oceanside police vehicle. Photo: Gina Yarbrough/San Diego County News

By SDCN Editor

Oceanside, CA–Three thieves were interrupted in the act of stealing a catalytic converter from a resident’s vehicle in the 200 block of El Camino Real in Oceanside Monday morning, authorities said.

A neighbor of the victim smashed the windshield of the suspect’s vehicle around 7 a.m. as it fled the area. 

A short time later, an Oceanside Police sergeant leaving work noticed three people nervously walking away from a vehicle with a smashed windshield near the police department headquarters. The sergeant put out descriptions over the radio, and units flooded the area. Within minutes, police observed two men walking west on Mission Avenue, and they were detained. Officers detained the third man a short time later at the 3800 block of Mission Avenue, according to Oceanside Police Department Public Information Officer Jennifer Atenza.

The men’s involvement was confirmed through surveillance footage. A search of their vehicle was conducted, and nine catalytic converters were found in the trunk, along with cutting tools and a hydraulic jack consistent with the tools utilized in the theft of catalytic converters. 

The suspects, Jonathan Garcia, 29, John Gonzalez, 28, and Jonathan Valledares Pineda, 32, all residents of San Bernardino, were arrested for grand theft, possession of the stolen property, and conspiracy to commit a crime. Their bail was set at $150,000. Additionally, California Penal Code 1275.1 conditions were set on the suspects’ bail, which is intended to prevent funds acquired by felony criminal activity from being utilized to post bail. 

The Oceanside Police Department is actively investigating this incident and seeking additional victims. Detectives are currently coordinating with other agencies to locate potential victims in surrounding areas during the timeframe before the arrest. 

Anyone who may be a victim or have information regarding the incident can contact Detective James at (760) 435-4286 or email 



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