LA VERNE (CBSLA) — Police recovered laptops, high-end cameras, skateboards and dozens of personal identification cards stolen from vehicles from about 120 victims in more than a dozen cities.
The stolen items were found inside a U-Haul pickup truck that was recovered in Upland, according to La Verne police, who had been investigating the theft of more than $11,000 worth of property from a La Verne business owner’s parked vehicle. The suspect in that car burglary was also believed to have stolen a vehicle from the 2500 block of Third Street.
Caleb Gutierrez, 26, of La Puente was booked on suspicion of vehicle theft and burglary, but released with a citation to appear in court. He was later arrested again, along with two accomplices were arrested, after investigators took a more thorough look at the property recovered from the U-Haul truck.
Police determined the property found in the U-Haul belonged to approximately 40 victims of car burglaries across a wide swath of the San Gabriel Valley and Inland Empire. The thefts happened in Alhambra, San Marino, Sierra Madre, Monrovia, Rosemead, Rowland Heights, Diamond Bar, Walnut, West Covina, Chino, Montclair, Rancho Cucamonga, Ontario, and Upland.
As part of the investigation, detectives served a search warrant on a Chino home where Gutierrez lived, and recovered five stolen vehicles, a shotgun, military-style body armor, and evidence from 80 more vehicle burglaries, according to La Verne police.
Gutierrez was arrested again on suspicion of being a felon in possession of a firearm. Eduardo Gama, 22, of Los Angeles, was booked on suspicion of operating a stolen vehicle “chop shop.” Nikki Preciado, 29, of Montclair, was booked for outstanding warrants. La Verne police say the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office has filed felony charges against Gutierrez and Gama, who remain in custody.
Police continue to work to identify and contact the approximately 120 car burglary victims in order to return their property.