Reporting Deputy: Sergeant Jeff Reese
File # Multiple
On March 15, 2022, the Lake Elsinore Sheriff’s Station Special Enforcement Team (SET), along with members from the California Department of Motor Vehicles – Vehicle Dismantler Industry Strike Team, performed business compliance checks at 28 separate locations within the cities of Lake Elsinore, Wildomar and Temecula due to an increased number of catalytic converter thefts.
The business varied from repair shops, muffler shops, smog shops and recycling centers. In total, 12 citations were issued to 12 separate businesses for various Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) vehicle code violations, which include unlicensed business operations. Kellie Nelson, 39-year-old resident of Lake Elsinore and Victoria Kirkpatrick, 46-year-old resident of Lake Elsinore, were arrested for outstanding warrants. Kirkpatrick was also given an additional charge of narcotics possession. Raymond Fernandez, a 47-year-old resident of Lake Elsinore was charged with possession or narcotics for sales. Additional leads into catalytic converter theft were generated during this operation.
Catalytic converter thefts remain a high priority for the Lake Elsinore Sheriff’s Station SET. Anyone with additional information regarding catalytic converter thefts is encouraged to contact Investigator Mills or Deputy Chambers at the Lake Elsinore Sheriff’s Station (951) 245-3300.
The Lake Elsinore station will like to share the following tips to prevent catalytic converter theft.
- Park your vehicles in a locked garage or in a well-lit area
- Engrave a vehicle's VIN number to the catalytic converter
- Weld the catalytic converter to the vehicle's frame.
- Install a car alarm that detects vibrations.
As a reminder, "Community Policing" involves partnerships between law enforcement and community members. Business owners and residents are encouraged to report criminal activity directly to law enforcement by calling Sheriff's Dispatch at (951) 776-1099, or by calling 911 if the matter is an emergency.
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