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Eyewitness helps bust a car burglary ring

April 14, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
An eyewitness is being credited with helping LAPD bust an aggressive car burglary ring that targeted cars across the city. Police believe that up to 100 people may have been victimized by this burglary ring. They say it was pretty much a smash and grab type operation. They say the suspects would steal items out of parked cars and then hide their loot in motels all over the city. Now, two suspects are behind bars and police are busy trying to return all of that stolen property.

Credit cards, handbags, boxing gloves, even a Korean passport are just some of the hundreds of items Los Angeles police recovered from the homes of cousins Alejandro and Jesse Torres, both 22. The suspects were arrested over the weekend for burglarizing dozens of cars.

"They were targeting underground parking structures. They were operating in certain hours of the evening. They were operating in pairs and they were utilizing a specific method to get into the vehicle," said Detective Chris Merlo, LAPD.

Police say the suspects were hitting mostly cars parked in the underground garages of apartment complexes in Koreatown, Hollywood and the Rampart area. Last weekend a witness caught them in the act and called police.

"Both of those suspects were then followed up. We identified where they went, where they lived, we followed up to their residences and to another couple locations, and as a result of that follow up we recovered in excess of about 300 items," said Captain Matt Blake, LAPD.

Police say the suspects confessed to committing the crimes to feed their drug habit. Most of the expensive items laptops and GPS units were already sold but detectives are hoping people will recognize their belongings and come and collect them.

"A lot of the property was just targets of opportunity. You just happen to see a backpack left in the back seat of a car, might have a laptop, might have a very expensive camera, money, jewelry. But some of the victims were really happy to come and find out their glasses, their bags, that had a sentimental value, a photograph of a family member is no longer around, so that was very satisfying for our detectives," said Detective Lillian Carranza, LAPD.

If you are one of the victims and recognize your stolen items you can contact LAPD's Olympic division detectives at (213) 382-9370. Police are also looking for more suspects as part of this burglary ring and they say this is a good reminder to people out there to always keep their items out of plain view when your car is parked, preferably inside your trunk.


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