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Burglaries


The Sheriff’s Major Crimes Bureau held a press conference today to locate owners of expensive bicycles taken in residential burglaries after unsuspecting victims allegedly tipped off the suspects to the whereabouts of their valuables through postings on CriagsList and Facebook.

The burglaries occurred over a wide area in the Counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego and Ventura.

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Prospective targets were identified primarily as persons selling expensive bicycles on CRAIGSLIST. The suspects would make contact with the victims by using a fictitious name and email account. After establishing a dialogue about the bicycles with the sellers, the suspects would learn enough information to identify the residences where the bicycles were being kept. Much of this information was obtained directly from the unsuspecting victims and some was obtained by searching various internet sites such as FACEBOOK and White Pages Online.

The suspects would then drive to the targeted residences and burglarize them between 1 AM and 4 AM, often times when the victims were steps away, asleep inside of their homes. Entry into the homes was made via garage door openers, which were left inside of accessible cars, or by cutting the garage door at the top and using a makeshift tool to pull the garage door opener cord. Although many of the bikes were taken from the garages, often times the suspects would enter the living areas of the residence, to locate and steal the property.

After stealing the bikes, many valued between 5 and 15 thousand dollars, the suspects would return to Los Angeles and sell them to a bike shop owner in the city of Los Angeles.

After many nights of surveillance, Major Crimes Investigators watched as the burglary crew entered a residence in the city of Rancho Cucamonga, using the method I just described, and stole a bicycle valued at more than $5000.00. Investigators then followed the suspects directly to another residence in Rancho Cucamonga, where the suspects prepared to burglarize another home. We arrested them in the act, without incident.

The property was recovered and returned to the victim immediately.

The three suspects were interviewed and implicated themselves in more than 100 residential burglaries. Subsequently, search warrants were prepared and served. Bicycles were recovered from a suspect’s residence, the bicycle shop owned by the fence and a storage unit rented by the bike shop owner.

The burglary suspects were identified as Julian Herrera, 23, of Los Angeles, Jaime Herrera, age 21, of Panorama City and Alberto Mejia, age 24, of Colton.

They are being held in San Bernardino County Jail with a $2,000,000 bail.

The owner of the bike shop was interviewed and implicated the suspects in the theft of the bicycles and himself in the receiving of known stolen property. Criminal charges are pending against Melecio Martinez, age 33, of Los Angeles.

After the arrest, Investigators sent out an email to all of the persons who the suspects had contacted via Craigslist, using their fictitious names. As a result, they have identified approximately 15 victims and were able to return their property to them, valued at more than $100,000.

If you believe that you may have been a victim in this series of crimes, you are encouraged to call Sheriff’s Major Crimes Bureau at 562-946-7893. Please have the brand, model and serial number of your bicycles available, as well as the police report number documenting the theft.

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