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Police arrest two while investigating catalytic converter theft ring

By Brandi Makuski

Stevens Point police on Tuesday arrested two men during an investigation into a ring of catalytic converter thefts across the area.

Portage Co. dispatchers received a call at 2:42 a.m. on Jan. 4 from someone reporting three men were attempting to steal a catalytic converter from a residence on the 2300 block of Illinois Ave. The three suspects were seen driving a silver Cadillac, according to the incident report.

Lt. Dana Williams from SPPD said officers located a vehicle matching the description at 3:37 a.m. on the 2800 block of Indiana Ave. and made contact with the occupants.

A search of the vehicle uncovered numerous tools used to cut off the catalytic converters, a jack, and two catalytic converters.

“We are attempting to locate the victims of the catalytic converter [thefts], as we are not certain if they were stolen from Stevens Point or elsewhere,” Williams said.

Two of the three occupants were taken into custody on unrelated charges. Tao Vang, 36, was arrested on active warrants from Dunn and Hennepin counties. Bee Vang, 46, was arrested on a charge of possession of methamphetamine. A third, unnamed suspect, was released.

District Attorney Louis Molepske, Jr., said the three men appear to be involved in “a different ring of catalytic converter thieves” and said his office plans to pursue charges in the matter.

It was not immediately clear when the two suspects would see a judge.

This story is developing and will be updated.