Deputies have arrested five suspects in connection to a large-scale catalytic converter theft operation, which occurred near the 2600 block of Center Road in Ft. Pierce on Thursday, November 24, and Friday, November 25, 2022.
According to deputies, the closing manager of a local business in St. Lucie County contacted 911 at approximately 8:00 p.m. on Friday after locating two suspicious ladders positioned along a perimeter wall.
Once on the scene, responding units were able to locate four suspects: Carlos Martinez, 30, Carlos Umberto Argueta Bonnila, 51, Jose Octovio Martin Hernandez, 51, and Jose Odair Martinez Funez, 39.
A fifth suspect, Ladonte Shaquille Hill, 29, was identified and later apprehended at a nearby hotel.
At this time, detectives believe that these suspects, who traveled to St. Lucie County, Florida, from North Carolina, are responsible for approximately 180 catalytic converter thefts from this single location.
This number is expected to rise as the investigation continues.
“Catalytic converters are targeted by thieves for their precious metals. With the arrest of these five individuals, we hope to deny their precious freedom for a long time so they don’t victimize anyone else,” said Sheriff Mascara.
All five suspects were arrested and transported to the St. Lucie County Jail for burglary of an occupied structure, possession of burglary tools with intent to use, and grand theft. Each suspect is being held on a $190,000 bond.
If you have any information, please contact the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office or call Treasure Coast Crime Stoppers at 1-800-273-TIPS (8477).