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Catalytic converter theft investigation and arrest

Tehachapi Police Department

During the early morning hours of March 6, a male suspect removed and stole a catalytic converter from a 2004 Ford Truck which was parked in the 800 Block of Kelton Street in the City of Tehachapi.

Officers obtained video surveillance footage from the neighborhood which showed a silver Hyundai sedan casing the neighborhood and appeared to be involved in the theft. The video showed the male suspect approaching the vehicle while walking a dog. The dog was wearing a distinctive sweater/harness. The male crawled under the vehicle with a flashlight and quickly emerged with the catalytic converter. The suspect fled to the silver Hyundai and left the area.

Tehachapi Police Officers shared information of this theft during the following shift briefing and learned that officers from the previous night shift had contacted a male subject and a dog matching this description in a silver Hyundai during a call for service in the 800 Block of Tucker Road. Officers reviewed the surveillance footage of the catalytic converter theft and positively identified the suspect as Auston Scism, 31, of California City.

Officers obtained an arrest warrant for Scism and distributed the warrant information to surrounding police agencies. On March 13, alert officers from the California City Police Department located Scism around 82nd Street and Bay Avenue in California City. Scism was in the silver Hyundai used in the Tehachapi theft and was found to be in possession of burglary tools including reciprocating saws, car jacks and bolt cutters. Scism was also in possession of a possible stolen catalytic converter.

Scism was booked for Grand Theft as well as additional charges for possession of burglary tools, possession of stolen property and an L.A. County warrant for theft of livestock.