Car Burglars Get Caught By Active Neighborhood Watch
A number of Neighborhood Watch meetings in the Fair Oaks Ranch area over the past several weeks may have paid off in a big way early Tuesday morning.
Deputies and detectives have been closely watching and heavily patrolling the area, as well as the Hasley Hills area of Castaic, for the past several months due to a recent increase of residential and vehicle burglaries dating back to early March.
Deputies got a huge break just after midnight Tuesday when a resident in the area heard several car alarms go off, looked outside and observed several individuals running down the street in the darkness. He immediately called the sheriff and deputies responded.
When deputies arrived in the area of Wren Drive and Cardinal Drive in Canyon Country, they determined at least three vehicles parked on Wren Drive had had their windows broken and were burglarized. Deputies continued checking and patrolling the area and stopped to check a Honda Accord parked on Cardinal Drive.
Deputies found three female juveniles hiding on the front and rear floorboards inside the car. Deputies detained the juvenile subjects and also a third adult who was walking in the area. Through further investigation, deputies determined all four individuals were allegedly connected to the vehicle burglaries.
Deputies checked the trunk of the suspects’ vehicle and found a plethora of items they suspect were taken from the burglarized vehicles. Deputies found four car stereos, four purses, video game systems, cell phones, MP3 Players, tools, a BB gun, personal identification information belonging to other individuals, and other items of evidence, including those used in the commission of burglaries. More than 35 pieces of stolen items and evidence were recovered.
Deputies arrested and booked the three young women; a 16 and a 17 year-old from Winnetka and a 17 year-old from Palmdale on felony charges of burglary, vandalism and participation in a criminal gang, and misdemeanor charges of curfew violation and possession of burglary tools. They were each transported to Sylmar Juvenile Hall pending future court proceedings.
Also booked was one adult, Douglas Martinez, 18, of North Hills. He faces potential felony charges of burglary, vandalism and participation in a criminal gang. All four individuals have suspected gang affiliation out of the Palmdale area. Martinez was being held in lieu of $20,000 bail and was due in court this morning.
Deputies did not stop there, and the case was immediately turned over to Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's COBRA Team and Burglary and Theft Detectives. The detectives are continuing their investigation and they have strong indications that there are others involved with these incidents of burglary.
Detectives do not believe these vehicle burglary cases are in any way connected to recent residential burglaries in the same area and are asking residents to keep the strong Neighborhood Watch and neighborhood communication crime prevention programs very active. Additional operations and arrests connected to these vehicle burglaries are likely in the coming days.
Sheriff's officials are still looking for a white 4-door vehicle, possibly a Mercedes SUV, that has been spotted at several other burglaries in the Hasley Hills area of Castaic and the Fair Oaks Ranch area of Canyon Country over the past several months.
Detectives are attempting to identify at least two suspects in connection with several cases. The suspects have been seen in and around the burglarized homes and driving the above-described vehicle. They are described only as male and female black adults. Generally the female waits in the car as the male knocks on doors in the area. When they knock several times and believe that no one is home the male adult is kicking the doors open and burglarizing the houses.
If you see this vehicle or any suspicious activity, immediately report it to the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station by dialing 9-1-1 or (661) 255-1121. DO NOT WAIT! Anyone with additional information regarding these suspects or the incidents of residential or vehicle burglaries are asked to immediately contact Detective Mark Barretto at (661) 799-5134. The investigations are ongoing and there is no further information available at this time.