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Task force arrests 3 men in catalytic converter theft at motel in West Palm Beach

Unit targets stolen cars, burglaries, theft-related crimes
Catalytic converter theft at motel in West Palm Beach on May 7, 2023
Posted at 7:25 PM, May 08, 2023

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Officers from a multi-agency South Florida Task Force arrested three men at a West Palm Beach motel in a catalytic converter theft Sunday.
Task force members, who combat stolen cars, burglaries and theft-related crimes, were conducting surveillance on a car linked to other thefts in the region, West Palm Beach police spokesman Mike Jachles said.

Before 3:30 a.m. Sunday, the target car pulled into the Holiday Inn Express at 2485 Metrocentre Blvd. E.

The car backed in next to a white Toyota Tacoma pickup truck and the front seat passenger, later identified as Kevin Antony Barahona, 20 , of Miami, got out and crawled under the pickup truck and began cutting off the truck’s catalytic converter with a battery-operated reciprocating saw.

Agents moved in as Barahona, who was wearing a mask, jumped to the ground from underneath the pickup, Jachles said.

The two other suspects in the car were identified as Carey Benjamin J Eskridge, 27, of Lake City, and Kemion D’Andre Mays, 26, of Miami. The owner of the truck is a 45-year-old man from Winter Garden.

Agents looked underneath the pickup truck and saw one pipe leading to the catalytic converter was cut through with damage to the truck at $1,500.00.

All three are facing one count of grand theft over $750 and one count each of criminal mischief over $1,000.

Eskridge, the driver of the car, was also charged with driving with a suspended/revoked/canceled license with knowledge.

These arrests were conducted by the West Palm Beach Police Department with cooperation from the Jupiter Police Department and Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.

West Palm Beach police have had 35 reported catalytic converter incidents with about 100 units stolen, Jachles said.