Cedar City Police arrest man suspected of stealing catalytic converters from cars, shoplifting

The catalytic converter was reportedly cut from the bottom of this Toyota Prius in Cedar City, Utah, Feb. 26, 2021 | Photo courtesy of Gary Arnell, St. George News / Cedar City News

CEDAR CITY — A 24-year-old Las Vegas man was arrested in Cedar City Friday after vehicle catalytic converters and other stolen merchandise were allegedly found in his possession.

Edgar Gonzalez Carabes, Jr. was booked into Iron County Jail Friday afternoon on suspicion of theft, receiving stolen property and criminal mischief. 

Earlier in the day, Cedar City Police had responded to a report of a theft at a local hardware store. A male and a female had reportedly unloaded a shopping cart full of items worth more than $1,200, which had not been paid for, into the bed of a truck and had driven away, according to the probable cause statement filed in support of Carabes’ arrest.

Based on the truck’s description, a Cedar City Police officer spotted the vehicle as it was entering the Interstate 15 on-ramp at Exit 59 and initiated a traffic stop, the affidavit said.

After being read his Miranda rights, the man admitted he had not paid for the merchandise taken from the hardware store, according to the statement.

Iron County Jail booking photo of Edgar Gonzales Carabes, Jr., Cedar City, Utah, Feb. 26, 2021 | Photo courtesy of Iron County Sheriff’s Office, St. George News / Cedar City News

“The male stated he had the money to pay for the items but did not,” the arresting officer wrote, adding that the suspect was found to have “a large amount of $100 bills” in his wallet.

During the subsequent search of the vehicle for the stolen property, police reportedly found a black duffel bag containing multiple catalytic converters that had been cut from vehicles. 

“I was aware of recent thefts in the Iron County area of catalytic converters and questioned the male about them,” the officer wrote, adding, “The male admitted to cutting two converters off vehicles sometime in the night in Cedar City.”

Additionally, police found another duffel bag containing multiple clothing items with tags and magnetic strips still attached. 

“The male admitted to stealing the clothing but could not remember from which store or if it was even in the Cedar City or possibly St. George area,” the officer wrote.

Meanwhile, the woman who was with Carabes was subsequently identified as Nancy Rodriguez, 36, of Las Vegas. She was released after being cited for theft and possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia, according to police.

Carabes’ charging documents state that he has been cited previously for similar offenses in Iron County.

“I believe Edgar travels from Las Vegas to Cedar City to commit similar crimes before going back to Las Vegas,” the arresting officer wrote.

This report is based on information provided by law enforcement and may not contain the full scope of findings. Persons arrested or charged are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law or as otherwise decided by a trier-of-fact.

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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