Forty seven year old Michael Helms from San Pablo and forty five year old Larry Hernandez from El Sobrante were arrested Tuesday when Detectives saw them taking a catalytic converter from a truck in Marin County. Helms and Hernandez were arrested last week in Sonoma County on possession of stolen property charges and were being watched by detectives from the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Property Crimes Investigation unit.
Mr. Helms and Mr. Hernandez are suspected of stealing at least three vehicles, breaking into a truck and stealing tools, along with stealing catalytic converters. Detectives conducing the surveillance of both men followed them from Rhonert Park to a park and ride lot in Novato where they observed Mr. Hernandez saw the catalytic converter off of a pick up truck in the lot.
Police officers approached both suspects who fled but were apprehended about a mile from the park and ride lot. Mr. Helms was arrested on charges of grand theft, conspiracy, possession of a controlled substance, possession of burglary tools, and driving on a suspended license. Mr. Hernandez was arrested for grand theft, conspiracy and possession of burglary tools. Both men were booked into the Marin County Jail.
Possession of a controlled substance can be charged as a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the drug, the quantity possessed and the suspects prior criminal record. Grand theft is also a wobbler offense punishable by up to three years in state prison as a felony and by up to one year in the county jail as a misdemeanor.