SAN DIEGO — Three men were arrested Monday on suspicion of a catalytic converter theft in the Oceanside area, authorities said.

The incident occurred around 7 a.m. in the 200 block of El Camino Real, where the three suspects were interrupted in the act of stealing a catalytic converter from a person’s vehicle, Jennifer Atenza with the Oceanside Police Department stated in a news release.

“A neighbor was able to smash the windshield of the suspect’s vehicle as it fled the area,” Atenza said.

An Oceanside police sergeant leaving work put out descriptions of the suspects over the radio after noticing three people nervously walking away from a vehicle with a smashed windshield near the police headquarters, according to authorities.

Upon arrival to the area, officers observed two men walking west on Mission Avenue, and they were then detained.

A third man was later detained in the 3800 block of Mission Avenue, Atenza confirmed. His vehicle was searched, in which officers found nine catalytic converters in the trunk, along with cutting tools and a hydraulic jack similar to the tools used in the theft of catalytic converters.

Jonathan Garcia, 29, John Gonzalez, 28, and Johnathan Valledares Pineda, 32, were arrested on suspicion of grand theft, possession of stolen property and conspiracy to commit a crime with a $150,000 bail, police said. All three are residents of San Bernardino.

“Additionally, California Penal Code 1275.1 conditions were set on the suspect’s bail, which is
intended to prevent funds acquired by felony criminal activity from being utilized to post bail,” Atenza said.

If you believe you may be a victim or have information regarding the incident, please contact Detective James at (760) 435-4286 or email