Gang-related burglary ring hit 5,000 SoCal homes, police say

TORRANCE, Calif. (KABC) -- Southern California law enforcement agencies banded together to round up 15 suspects in a gang-related burglary ring that they say hit thousands of SoCal homes.

The gang members were given goals, officials said: Break into homes and come back with at least $5,000 and a weapon every single day.

And they were persistent, striking homes four to five times in a week. The alleged thieves are suspected of some 5,000 burglaries.

It took three and a half years for investigators to track the burglary suspects back to the ringleaders.

"We saw a pattern and it was a lot of the same individuals that were committing these crimes," said Sgt. Paul Kranke with the Torrance Police Department.

Eighteen police agencies, with about 400 members, worked to round up the alleged gang members.

Police say the burglars were hitting upscale neighborhoods in LA, Ventura, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties.

The dragnet targeted repeat offenders who can be in and out of county jail in as few as six months. Law enforcement officials blame the short sentences on a new state law designed to reduce prison overcrowding. These latest arrests can potentially send them to state prison for years because prosecutors are able to add gang enhancements to the charges.
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