Homeowner fatally stabs catalytic converter theft suspect in California

 Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies said a homeowner took matters into his own hands when he stopped a catalytic converter theft in progress early Friday morning by grabbing a kitchen knife and stabbing one of the suspects in his driveway. 

Authorities said the stabbing occurred about 2:30 a.m. at a home in the 11200 block of Thienes Avenue in South El Monte. 

The homeowner told deputies with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department that he was sleeping when he heard a group of men talking in his driveway.

He grabbed a kitchen knife and went to confront the group of up to four burglars who were in the process of stealing a catalytic converter from his vehicle parked in the driveway, deputies said.

He stabbed one of them, described by authorities as a 45- to 50-year-old man. He was pronounced dead on scene. 

Investigators confirmed tools consistent with stealing catalytic converters were found next to the suspect’s body. 

The sheriff said that the man who was stabbed, along with possibly two other suspects were trying to steal car parts from the homeowner's driveway.

Other suspects were seen getting into a small car and driving way, the sheriff said. 

LASD officials said the homeowner was detained for questioning.

Catalytic converter thefts are a national problem. And the issue has proven deadly before. 

Several thieves have been killed when cars have fallen on them during the process of stealing the precious metal. In other cases, residents have been killed while trying to stop the thefts. 

KTVU contributed to this report.