Business owner nabbed for buying stolen car parts

A 44-year-old Castro Valley man was arrested in San Leandro todayfor allegedly purchasing stolen catalytic converters from undercover officers, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Christopher Panarra was served with a warrant for numerous felony charges in his San Leandro business, Converters West, said the CHP.

The arrest was the culmination of an Alameda County Regional Auto Theft Task Force investigation that began last May.

Panarra was believed to be a major purchaser and exporter of stolen converters, which contain small amounts of precious metals with high value in the recycling market.

Converters West, located at 1669 Abram Court, has been a central delivery and processing location for the stolen converters, the CHP said.

Investigators said Panarra's willingness to purchase the stolen converters directly led to hundreds of vehicle thefts through the Bay Area.

Task force members have recovered more than 40 of these vehicles and have made 14 felony arrests.

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