San Mateo: 3 arrested in attempted theft of catalytic converter from mall

SAN MATEO, Calif. (KRON) – The San Mateo Police Department (SMPD) arrested three people after they attempted to steal catalytic converters from the Hillsdale Mall Monday night.

The suspects have been identified as Michael Violette, 34, Vicent Esquiel Jr., 40, and Vianey Haro, 41.

At approximately 10:16 p.m., a police officer passed three people standing near a Toyota Corolla with the hood and trunk open and a Toyota Prius that had been jacked up in one of the mall’s parking lots.

When the officer approached the group, they quickly removed the vehicle jack from under the Prius and placed it in the open trunk of the Corolla.

The officer contacted the suspects and identified one as Violette.

“Violet told the officer he owned the Prius. However, a check of records revealed that the vehicle had been reported as stolen,” the SMPD said in a press release.

Police said the three suspects were taken into custody without incident.

Haro had two outstanding warrants without bail and was in possession of methamphetamine in his pocket.

As the police continued the investigation, the registered owner of the Prius arrived.

When the owner attempted to start his vehicle, it was confirmed that the exhaust line had been cut in an attempt to steal the catalytic converter.

All three were sentenced to San Mateo County Jail for attempted robbery, conspiracy, possession of burglary tools, and for their individual charges and warrants.

The SMPD reminds the public “if you see something, say something”.

“We encourage our community to use security cameras,” SMPD said in a press release.

“They are particularly useful in identifying suspicious activity in neighborhoods when the cameras face the street.”