General Crime

* Mario Lagudas, Phornxay Ratsavongsy and Russhia Lee Pittman Arrested in Connection with Alleged Catalytic Converter Theft in Milpitas

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Three people were arrested in connection with an attempted burglary of catalytic converters from a car in a Milpitas driveway early Thursday morning. The attempted burglary occurred around 12:15 a.m. on Thursday in the 500 block of Roswell Drive, according to police. A resident called police after he came home to see a man lying underneath his red Pontiac Grand Am parked in the driveway, police said. When the suspect saw the resident, he took off running.

Officers arrived and upon inspection of the car, found that the catalytic converter was in the process of being cut out from the undercarriage of the vehicle. The suspect was in the process of cutting a second metal pipe when the resident interrupted him, police said. One metal pipe had already been cut. Other officers in the area saw a parked vehicle with three people inside and went over to talk to them. The front passenger was in possession of several tools and a pipe cutter that was found on the passenger seat, according to police.

The driver of the car was on parole and the rear passenger was in possession of drug paraphernalia and had an outstanding warrant for her arrest, according to police. All three occupants were arrested and booked for multiple offenses, including conspiracy, attempted grand theft, possession of drug paraphernalia, false information to a police officer, burglary tools, under the influence of a controlled substance and warrants.  They were identified as Mario Lagudas, 42; Phornxay Ratsavongsy, 30; and Russhia Lee Pittman, 29. All three are from Stockton.  A search of their vehicle revealed other copper recyclables in the trunk, police said.

Police are reminding residents to be aware of thieves that target vehicles to steal catalytic converters, which are valued for their recyclable value. If it’s possible, residents should secure their vehicle in the garage or in a well-lit area.

Anyone with information about the crime is asked to call the Milpitas Police Department at (408) 586-2400.

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