Berkeley police say they’ve arrested a 28-year-old man involved in the incident last month in which a Berkeley resident was shot at while trying to stop the theft of their neighbor’s catalytic converter

Oscar Cerrato-Garcia was charged on Monday by the Alameda County District Attorney’s Office with two counts of grand theft, felon in possession of a firearm and prohibited person in possession of ammunition.

A little before 6 a.m. on Oct. 6, two people stole a catalytic converter from the 500 block of Spruce Street in Berkeley. Minutes later, the pair stole another catalytic converter on the 2300 block of Oak Street. During the second theft, a neighboring resident woke up to sawing sounds, called police, and confronted the people. One of the two people stealing the converter fired two rounds at the Berkeley resident and drove away in a stolen SUV. The Berkeley resident was not injured.

The Spruce Street theft was caught on surveillance video and police used Cerrato-Garcia’s booking photo to identify him as one of those involved. Detectives tracked him down to an Oakland motel using an ankle monitor he had been wearing from a prior arrest related to a catalytic converter theft, police said. The monitor showed he had been at the sites of both thefts at the times the converters were stolen, according to police.

As Cerrato-Garcia attempted to flee, police said, he discarded a backpack that included a ghost gun, a small quantity of methamphetamine, and keys to a stolen SUV. In his motel room, detectives said they also found ammunition, a reciprocating saw, saw blades and three vehicle jacks.

Cerrato-Garcia had previously been arrested on April 24 in connection with a catalytic converter theft in Hayward, in which he raised a saw at a witness and threatened to harm her and her family, according to court records. He was charged by the Alameda County District Attorney’s office with four felonies, and was convicted of misdemeanor and felony vandalism as part of a plea deal June 3. He was placed on probation through August 2024.

He was booked Monday into Santa Rita Jail and is scheduled for a hearing Nov. 9, according to court records.

Catalytic converter thefts have been up this year in Berkeley and across the country. This week, the U.S. Justice Department announced that a nationwide theft ring had been busted that generated hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue.

Iris Kwok covers the environment for Berkeleyside through a partnership with Report for America. A former music journalist, her work has appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, KQED, San Francisco Examiner...