Two Teens Caught Stealing Car Part in Parking Lot

Thursday, June 30, 2011 - 11:25am

LAS CRUCES- Police have arrested two teenagers for stealing the catalytic converter from a pickup parked at the Mesilla Valley Mall on Wednesday.

Jesus Salas,18, and Hector H. Carrate, 18, are charged with one count each of larceny over $500 and conspiracy to commit a larceny. Salas also had an outstanding warrant for his arrest.

On Wednesday night, aMesilla Valley Mall security guard spotted Salas and Carrate at a 2000 Toyota Tundra. The pickup had its hood raised and the security guard saw Carrate pouring water over the engine. As he approached the pickup he noticed Salas underneath the vehicle removing the catalytic converter.

Police were called, and Salas and Carrate were arrested.

Catalytic converters remove toxins from vehicle exhaust systems and contain precious metals, including platinum. Stolen catalytic converters are usually sold to scrap yards or recyclers.

Pickups and sports utility vehicles are targeted more often because their higher ground clearances make it easier for the perpetrator to crawl underneath and remove the converter from the vehicle.

Salas and Carrate were both transported to the Dona Ana County Detention Center. Salas, because he had an outstanding warrant, is being held without bond while Carrate is being held on a $5,000 bond.

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