California Highway Patrol officers on Tuesday, took one man into custody tied to a retail theft ring while still searching for two other suspects believed to have been involved in more than 90 smash-and-grab robberies this year in Southern California and elsewhere, authorities said.
The three suspects netted about $710,000 in stolen property from stores in Orange, Riverside, Los Angeles, San Bernardino and San Diego counties as well as in Arizona and Nevada, CHP Sgt. Jim Kelley said.
Donning helmets and tactical gear, CHP officers raided a home in the 15900 block of Orchard Avenue in the Harbor Gateway area of Los Angeles, where they found some stolen property inside, Kelley said.
None of the three suspects sought was at the home, which sits in a neighborhood of single-family houses just west of the 110 Freeway.
But less than five miles away, officers found one of the suspects, Edwin Rojas, 34, of Los Angeles, at a Motel 6 in Carson. He was arrested on suspicion of organized retail theft, burglary and grand theft, Kelley said.
Officers had hoped to find a second suspect, a 38-year-old woman, but she was not at the motel, Kelley said. A third suspect had yet to be identified, the sergeant said. The three most recently had been seen together by authorities Saturday at a hotel in Long Beach.
Surveillance of the suspects led authorities to both locations. At least one suspect had a connection to the home, but it was unclear if any of the suspects were related to the occupants inside.
The CHP’s Organized Retail Crime unit, formed in November, had been investigating the thefts after receiving calls from retail stores reporting stolen property starting in January, Kelley said.
“We had hoped that with businesses reopening earlier this year, they would slow down, but they didn’t,” he said, adding that the suspects most recently hit two businesses on Saturday.
The stores that were vicitmized included Nike, Ulta Beauty, Nordstrom Rack, T.J. Maxx, Victoria Secret and Columbia, Kelley said.