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A Spring Lake Park police officer recently stopped two men for stealing a catalytic converter, as similar thefts are on the rise in the Twin Cities metro.

Scott St. Aubin, 43, of Prior Lake, and Ryan Woehler, 38, of Minneapolis, are each charged with felony first-degree criminal damage to property and felony theft.

According to the criminal complaint, a police officer was on the 8100 block of Able Street in Spring Lake Park April 12 at 10:32 p.m. when he noticed a van with its lights on parked in front of a home. When he drove past, he saw two people in dark clothes come from underneath a vehicle parked in the driveway.

The officer reported seeing the two people, later identified as St. Aubin and Woehler, get in the van, which drove north on Able Street.

The officer followed the van, but the driver turned its lights off as it continued north on Able Street, according to the complaint.

The officer pulled the van over and identified a female driver and passenger, with St. Aubin and Woehler in the back seat, according to the complaint.

There were Sawzall blades next to the men in the car, and a catalytic converter was found in the car under a black jacket, according to the complaint.

The victim tried starting his car and noticed an issue. A police sergeant discovered the catalytic converter was removed from the vehicle.

The police department estimates $1,900 for the repair and replacement of the catalytic converter.

Woehler and St. Aubin were released on bail April 14.

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