Man arrested after attempting to steal catalytic converter in front of officers Thursday night

On Thursday, September 15th, 2022, at 11:09 pm, the Turlock Police Department was dispatched to a reported prowler at CSS Electric, 2200 Maryann Dr, Turlock, after a man had been spotted in the gated area on surveillance cameras tampering with a box truck.

The first arriving officer found and made contact with an occupied suspicious vehicle parked on Maryann Dr between the business and N Walnut Rd.

While the first arriving officer was speaking with the man in the vehicle, the second arriving officer arrived at the gate of the business and observed a man, later identified as Gabriel Avila, 25, of Modesto, underneath the box truck a man had originally been seen tampering with.

When Avila noticed the officer, he immediately got up from underneath the truck and began running westbound. That officer chased Avila along with the first officer who had originally made contact with the suspicious vehicle. Avila was caught and arrested about a minute later in a nearby parking lot.

When officers went back to look for the suspicious vehicle that was originally contacted, it had already left.

Officers began investigating and determined that when Avila was observed underneath the box truck, he was attempting to cut off and take its catalytic converter. Officers then checked underneath a van parked next to the box truck and noticed that its catalytic converter was missing. Further follow-up will be conducted to determine if it had been stolen by Avila, which if it was, it’s likely that it was in the vehicle that was originally contacted and had left.

Avila was booked into the Stanislaus County Public Safety Center on charges of attempted grand theft and obstructing or resisting a peace officer or other public officer.

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