Northern Michigan citizen honored for helping police catch catalytic converter thieves

Lt. Travis House of Michigan State Police's Cadillac Post and Preston Breitmeyer.

Michigan State Police honored a young resident of Wexford County with helping authorities arrest multiple people suspected of stealing catalytic converters last February. 

Preston Breitmeyer called 911 after he saw a theft in progress in his driveway on Feb. 1. 

The quick-thinking helped police quickly respond and apprehend the suspects, who were believed to be behind multiple catalytic converter thefts in northern Michigan. 

When police did respond, it required a chase over snowy terrain and through the Manistee River before the individuals were taken into custody.

A total of three people were arrested following a traffic stop and subsequent chase that required a K9 unit to track down the fleeing suspects. The individuals that were eventually charged also had outstanding warrants. 

The original press release said the officer was familiar with the area and calculated the route the alleged thieves would take. After intercepting them and conducting a traffic stop, the trooper recognized several occupants in the van.

Beneath the driver, a 43-year-old woman from Thompsonville, was what looked like a freshly-cut catalytic converter. Tools used to cut catalytic converters were also observed.

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The officer immediately announced the suspects were under arrest and began taking them into custody. While securing the first man, a 49-year-old from Mesick, two others fled carrying bags. They ignored his order to stop.

A K9 unit was eventually dispatched and used to track the suspects through the terrain and across a major river. The suspects, Jonathan Patrick Gustafson, 31 from Interlochen, and Janessa Anne Robinson, 34 from Rapid City, were found hiding in a camper trailer and taken into custody.