By Karen Billing
A community member keeping watch on their neighborhood led to the arrest of three suspects who may be responsible for 21 car burglaries in the Carmel Valley area.
“This is a great example of citizens being our eyes and ears and calling the police when they see suspicious activity,” said Sgt. Ernesto Servin of the San Diego Police Department’s Northwestern Division.
According to Servin, on June 18 at 7:20 a.m., a neighbor called the police to report three suspects with flashlights looking into cars in the apartment complex parking lot at Kellam Court and Quarter Mile Drive. The witness described the men as Asian males wearing dark clothing, gloves and driving a white Honda.
Officers responded and located the suspects next to a four-door white Honda Accord. As they made contact to talk to the suspects, one responded and was handcuffed, but the two other suspects took off on foot. Servin said the officers established a perimeter to search the area, calling in for reinforcements. As they followed the trail of the suspects, they found a loaded 9 mm handgun that the suspects had allegedly dropped or tossed.
One suspect was found and taken into custody, but the third was still at large. A police K-9 unit was brought in to help but the third man was not found.
Just as the officers were breaking down the perimeter, the third suspect was located and arrested, Servin said.
“During a search of their vehicle, there was evidence of more than nine vehicle burglaries,” Servin said. “Five of the victims have been identified and property has been recovered and returned to them.”
None of the property found was from Kellam Court but from other areas of Carmel Valley and the Northeastern Division. Over the June 15-17 weekend, there were 17 car burglaries in the Northwestern Division and since June 13, a total of 21.
“We believe these three suspects were involved in all 21,” said Servin. “We got three bad guys off the street and they were documented gang members as well.”
Servin said the crime series is a good reminder for people not to leave anything in their vehicles. A lot of the recovered property was gym bags and backpacks, not necessarily high value items but they are inviting items to the criminal element because they never know what is inside of them.
“At the end of the night, your car should look like when you picked it up from the dealership, nothing but the floor mats inside,” said Servin.
To make a report to the Northwestern Division, contact the non-emergency line at (858) 484-3154 or (619) 531-2000.