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Suspects caught with stolen catalytic converter

The plan of two men to steal a catalytic converter did not account for a witness whose keen eye led to their arrests not too far from the scene of the theft.

Both suspects were apprehended around 10:30 a.m. on Monday at the ARCO AM/PM at 210 N. Golden State Boulevard. Juan Carlos Aldaco Jr., 25, was arrested on suspicion of petty theft, felony vandalism and conspiracy. Alex Guajardo, 35, was arrested on suspicion of conspiracy and for a probation violation.

A Turlock Police officer had been dispatched to the Foster Farms plant at 500 W. F St. for a report of a burglary and while enroute was told the suspects were believed to be at the gas station, which is where the assisting officers found Aldaco and Guajardo.

An officer contacted the victim and witness at Foster Farms and learned the victim’s vehicle had the catalytic converter cut off from it. 

The witness had been driving by when they spotted a man underneath the victim’s vehicle, possibly trying to take something, said Turlock Police spokesman Sgt. Michael Parmley.

The witness said the male under the vehicle, later identified as Aldaco, was associated with a white Hyundai. A second man, later identified as Guadjardo, was seen by the witness seated in the driver's seat of a U-Haul and appeared to be acting as a lookout.

The officers at the gas station located the catalytic converter in the Hyundai.

Both men were taken into custody without incident and booked into the Stanislaus County Jail.