Over a dozen people were arrested and 250 catalytic converters — valued at about $750,000 — were recovered in an operation on Wednesday, stemming from an investigation in Santa Clarita.
In a proactive approach to lower catalytic converter theft, the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station Crime Impact Team (CIT) led a search warrant operation on March 10, centered in the City of Los Angeles, according to Deputy Natalie Arriaga, spokesperson for the station.
“Theft of catalytic converters has been a growing trend in 2020, with a 400% increase throughout Los Angeles County, and a significant increase in the Santa Clarita Valley as well,” Arriaga said.
Catalytic converters are attached to the exhaust system of a vehicle. They contain precious metals and can be “scrapped” for a quick profit, according to the spokesperson.
After countless hours of follow-up investigation, multiple locations within the city were believed to be related to thefts occurring in the Santa Clarita Valley, as well as several Los Angeles County areas, according to Arriaga.
Numerous resources and law enforcement partners assisted with the operation including SCV Sheriff’s Station Detective Bureau and Special Teams, Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station, Century Sheriff’s Station, Walnut Sheriff’s Station, Major Crimes Bureau, Los Angeles County Probation, Aero Bureau, Task Force for Regional Automobile Theft Prevention and the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
Search warrants were served at four different locations, which resulted in: 19 individuals arrested, 250 catalytic converters recovered, valued at an estimated total of $750,000, as well as one “ghost” handgun, and approximately $100,000 seized, according to Sheriff’s officials.
“At this time, the investigation is still ongoing and recent victims are encouraged to contact the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station Detective Bureau,” Arriaga said.
The LASD urges residents to park in well-lit areas with surveillance cameras and weld the bolts on their catalytic converter shut to prevent theft.
Motorists can also engrave or etch the license plate number onto their catalytic converter, according to Arriaga.
“Always report suspicious activity. If you see something, say something,” she said.
The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station has partnered with the City of Santa Clarita and launched the “Guard That Auto” campaign to combat the increase in grand theft auto and catalytic converter thefts.
The campaign educates the community regarding safety tips on how to keep your vehicle and its contents safe, according to Arriaga.
Those with any information regarding the theft of catalytic converters are encouraged to contact the Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Station at 661-255-1121.
Anonymous tips can also be submitted through “LA Crime Stoppers” at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or here.
One Killed In Saugus Stabbing, Deputies In Standoff With Suspect
A woman was killed in a Saugus stabbing Thursday morning, with the suspect — the estranged husband of the victim — in a standoff with deputies after fleeing at high speeds.
The incident occurred on Thursday at about 5:10 a.m. on the 22800 block of Fir Court, according to Deputy Grace Medrano, with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) Information Bureau.
Homicide Detectives have identified the suspect as 41-year-old James Mathew Dorsey from Washington State. He is described as a male White, 5’06, 165 lbs, according to Medrano.
Dorsey is the estranged husband of the victim, according to LASD Lt. Barry Hall.
“The information we have right now is that he’s not even living in the state, and they were certainly estranged, he’s not even welcome at the house,” Hall said. “He probably forced his way through the door at the back.”
Dorsey fled the scene driving a white Chevy Malibu, 4-door sedan with a California plate of 7ALF904.
“The suspect is considered armed and dangerous,” Medrano said. “Call 9-1-1 if you see the suspect and do not approach.”
At about 4:40 p.m., deputies initiated a pursuit, following the suspect at speeds of up to 90 miles per hour.
Dorsey the crashed on 300th Street, near the border of Los Angeles County and Kern County.
As of 6 p.m. Thursday, Dorsey is still in the vehicle, with the LASD Special Enforcement Bureau (SEB) responding to the scene.
Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500.
To provide information anonymously, call “Crime Stoppers” by dialing (800) 222-TIPS (8477) or the website.
Note: This story has been updated with information on the standoff between deputies and the suspect.
Former Catholic Priest Charged With Sexual Assault Of Four Children
A former Catholic priest has been charged Wednesday with sexually assaulting four boys at two different parishes, including one in Palmdale, dating back more than two decades.
Christopher John Cunningham, 58, is facing 12 felony counts of lewd acts upon a child under the age of 14. Arraignment will be scheduled for a later date, according to Greg Risling, spokesperson for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
“The victims were innocent children who have spent most of their lives with the trauma caused by the abuse alleged in this case,” District Attorney George Gascón said in a statement. “My office is committed to holding accountable anyone who abuses and takes advantage of our children, especially when they hold a position of trust.”
The case was filed for a warrant on April 2, according to investigators.
While working as an associate pastor at Saint Mary’s Catholic Church in Palmdale, the defendant is accused of sexually assaulting an 11-year-old boy on two occasions between November 1995 and September 1997. Cunningham also allegedly sexually assaulted a boy at the victim’s home sometime between June 1996 and June 1998, prosecutors said.
Cunningham also worked at Saint Lawrence Martyr Catholic Church in Redondo Beach. While there, he is accused of sexually assaulting a 12-year-old on two occasions between July 1998 and January 2001. During that same time frame, the defendant allegedly sexually assaulted a 10-year-old boy on multiple occasions, according to the D.A’s Office.
The case remains under investigation by the Special Victims Bureau of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. If anyone has additional information or was a victim, call the bureau at (562) 946-8531.
UPDATE: No Barricade Suspect Located After Tactical Operation In Lancaster
After several hours, no suspect was found after the report of a person wanted for burglary was barricaded in Lancaster Monday morning.
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Special Enforcement Bureau (SEB) personnel responded to assist Lancaster Station with a barricaded armed burglary suspect, according to Deputy Trina Schrader.
The incident was reported on April 12, at about 5:09 a.m., on the 3800 block of Avenue K in Lancaster, according to investigators.
SEB personnel will assume tactical command and Crisis Negotiation Team (CNT) is attempting to make contact with the suspect to bring this to a peaceful conclusion, Schrader said.
The surrounding homes have been evacuated for the safety of the residents.
After several hours and many verbal attempts by Lancaster Station deputies, SEB Tactical Team and the Crisis Negotiations Team there was no contact with the suspect.
SEB Tactical Team cleared the premises just before 1 p.m. and no suspect was located, according to Sheriff’s officials.
There is no additional information available, according to Schrader.
Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Lancaster Station at (661) 948-8466.
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