Police officers in Oakdale responding to a call of a suspicious vehicle found three people in the act of stealing a catalytic converter, authorities said.
According to Oakdale police Sgt. Brian Shimmel, police were called to a retirement community in the area at 4:15 a.m. Monday.
Upon arrival, officers Mike Walsh and Ben Savage found three men underneath a car, removing the catalytic converter, Shimmel said. They also had three other catalytic converters taken from cars in the retirement community, Shimmel said. "And the car they were driving came back stolen," he said.
Thieves have been stealing catalytic converters either for the metal or to sell on the black market, Shimmel said.
Police arrested Phal Bing, 40; Sambath Mouen, 35; and Neo Sophany, 32, all of Stockton, on charges of grand theft. Car theft charges also will be added, Shimmel said.