Neighbors fingered a suspected catalytic converter theft ring in Rochester on Mon., Sept. 20.
Three people are accused of crimes that started when one allegedly cut a hole the fence of the used car lot at 10135 US Hwy 12 SW. Concerned neighbors, who heard the sound of someone cutting metal in the secured lot, called 9-1-1 just after midnight on Sunday.
The reporting party told dispatch that she saw one subject acting as a lookout along the street, with another inside the fenced area. A few minutes later, the reporting party watched the two subjects running toward a black sedan with LED headlights parked down the road.
Andrez Gerald Reyna, 34, of Chehalis; his wife, Gretchen Reyna, 45, of Chehalis; and Sabastian Franco Rangel, 31, of Centralia were contacted by the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office as the vehicle turned around in the Rochester Grange parking lot, two blocks away from the original reporting location.
Despite deputies activating their emergency lights but the vehicle continued moving for several blocks along Albany Rd, then yielded at 9513 James Rd SW.
Officers reported that Andrez said he switched seats with Gretchen because she does not like to drive in the dark. The Department of Licensing reported that Andrez’s license was suspended and that he had a Lewis County warrant for theft.
Rangel provided deputies with Rangel’s brother’s information, which was later to be found false. Rangel had several Lewis County warrants active on him.
Both Andrez and Rangel had dried grass and dirt on their backs, consistent with being underneath vehicles, according to the sheriff’s office report.
During a search of the vehicle, deputies located a part that looked like a catalytic converter that was determined to have been removed from a diesel truck and several tools commonly used to remove exhaust parts from parked vehicles.
Andrez was booked for driving while license suspended and burglary; Gretchen was booked for burglary; and Rangel was booked on burglary and criminal impersonation. All were placed in the Thurston County Jail.