THOUSAND OAKS (CBSLA.com) — Law enforcement announced Wednesday they caught five members of a Long Beach street gang who have allegedly been stealing gold from Indian families across California and Nevada.
“They’re known for murders, take-over robberies, extortions, drive-by shootings,” said Detective Abel Morales of the Long Beach Police Department. “They’re just dangerous people.”
Since February 2013, the reported gang members turned to burglarizing Indian families, often nabbing gold, cash and other valuables.
“They were using the internet to identify people of Indian descent and locate their houses,” Ventura County Assistant Sheriff Gary Pentis said. “They preyed on these people because it’s been a culture of passing down jewelry, gold through generations. This was known to the criminal groups that this was kept in the home.”
Approximately 20 percent of the 100 residential robberies occurred in Ventura County. They also stole from families in Los Angeles, Orange, San Bernardino, Riverside, Kern, Monterey, Contra Costa and Sonoma counties, as well as in Las Vegas. Police say the ring of thieves averaged two burglaries per week and netted approximately $2 million over the past year.
“These people did surveillance on the victims. They drove nice cars that fit into the communities that they were surveilling and they dressed appropriately for the culture of the area they were in,” Pentis said.
Officials say the suspects were sophisticated criminals, leaving no fingerprints or DNA at the homes they burglarized.
Detectives reached out to members of the Indian community in Ventura County to warn them of the crime spree.
Pentis says they found the suspects the same way the alleged thieves found their victims — through Facebook.
“A lot of these are Facebook, MySpace, Instagram, where they’re bragging, showing gold and cash from their robberies, with their face,” the asst. sheriff said.
Authorities say they’ve arrested Long Beach residents Juan Guerrero, 22; Ivan Ramirez, 22; Albaro Miranda, 24; Salvador Ramirez, 24; and Teresa Ramirez, 57.
Pentis said of the four other suspects who are still at large: “We’re hunting them down and we’re gonna get ’em.”
Those four suspects were listed as Long Beach residents Aaron Flores, 20; Marco Gonzalez, 20; Marco Coronel, 21; and Juan Carlos Olague, 22.
Officials say since they’ve arrested five of the nine suspects burglaries involving Indian families have come to an end.