An inquisitive Orinda police officer touched off a stranger-than-usual confrontation with two suspected catalytic converter thieves Thursday – one of the suspects sacrificing his pal in order to get away.
Officer Devyn Hom was on routine patrol at Cal Shakes, 100 California Shakespeare Theater Way in Orinda around 11:30 a.m. when he spotted a person underneath a parked car in the theater parking lot and stopped to investigate.
Orinda Police Chief Mark Nagel said his officer knew he’d come across a crime when the person under the car came out holding a battery-powered Sawzall power saw and immediately fled to a waiting car.
The driver of the waiting vehicle, who Nagel said was apparently serving as a lookout, got out of the car and confronted the officer, the man with the power tool sliding across to the driver’s seat of the getaway vehicle and speeding off westbound down Highway 24 – “leaving his associate behind,” according to Nagel.
It is not known if the officer secured the abandoned accomplice in the police car or left him in the parking lot but the officer did briefly give chase, police said, terminating his pursuit when the the fleeing vehicle reached the Caldecott tunnel.
Chief Nagel said the abandoned lookout was questioned by police and eventually arrested on suspicion of conspiracy and attempted grand theft of a catalytic converter.
He was identified as Lindsay George Perry, 45, of Gilroy.
Purloined catalytic converters are now worth around $300 to $400 on the street, according to police sources, with the cost of replacing a purloined device in the $1,200 range.