LASD Major Crimes Bureau Burglary-Robbery Task Force, along with the Santa Barbara Police Department, arrested seven suspects on Sunday who were wanted for burglaries that happened throughout Southern California, including Santa Clarita.
On Sunday, April 9, 2017, at approximately 3:15 a.m., investigators from the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department’s (LASD), Major Crimes Bureau (MCB), Burglary-Robbery Task Force (BRTF), arrested seven suspects (six adults and one juvenile) following two commercial burglaries they had committed in the city of Santa Barbara. Investigators observed the suspects force their way into a side door of a restaurant located along the 600 block North Milpas Street, Santa Barbara. A short time later the suspects forced entry into a restaurant located along 1000 block Coast Village Road, Santa Barbara. The suspects fled the location in two separate vehicles southbound on the 101 Freeway.
With the assistance of the Santa Barbara Police Department, both vehicles were stopped south of Carpentaria where all seven suspects were detained without incident. Investigators recovered burglary tools (crowbar, gloves, headlamps, bolt cutters), and cash stolen form the locations inside the suspect’s vehicles. The suspects were transported to the Santa Barbara Police Station for booking and interrogation.
In November of 2016, the LASD MCB Burglary-Robbery Task force began investigating a series of similar restaurant late night and pre-dawn burglaries. In this burglary series, the suspects were forcing entry into the locations via the front doors and windows of restaurants and fast food establishments throughout Los Angeles County. They often stole cash drawers and safes from within the closed businesses. The crimes covered areas throughout Los Angeles and surrounding counties.
In recent weeks, BRTF Investigators worked closely with detectives from LAPD North Hollywood Division and identified a possible suspect vehicle. The vehicle was seen leaving the vicinity of restaurants which were burglarized in both the Santa Clarita and North Hollywood area. This information lead LASD Detectives to a location in Long Beach that had been previously suspected of involvement in a prior ongoing retail/commercial burglary investigation.
The vehicle, a silver Saturn VUE SUV, lead LASD MCB BRTF Detectives to Santa Barbara early Sunday morning, where they observed a second vehicle, a red Jaguar sedan, driving in tandem. The vehicles travelled together and the occupants (suspects) ultimately committed both burglaries in Santa Barbara and were subsequently arrested.
The following adult suspects were arrested for burglary, conspiracy to commit burglary, and charged with the “criminal street terrorism act” as it alleged they were all active Los Angeles area gang members. Each of the adult suspects are being held in Santa Barbara Jail in lieu of $120,000.00 bail and will be arraigned Tuesday, April 11, 2017:
Suspect: Justin Marquis Johnson Male/DOB 05-05-1989, a convicted felon, who had an outstanding narcotics warrant for his arrest out of Orange County, and has a previous arrest history including theft, narcotics violations, forgery, and battery.
Suspect: Kevin Deshawn Hawkins Male/DOB 02-24-1992, a documented gang member, has a significant arrest history to include domestic violence, criminal firearm possession, and battery.
Suspect: Mahkhi Elijan Thomas Male/DOB 11-26-1995, a documented gang member, with an arrest history of burglary, narcotics violations, and assault.
Suspect: Christian Sisson MB/DOB 06-01-1996, a convicted felon, with a criminal history including burglary and possession of stolen property.
Suspect: Willard Casey MB/DOB 06-01-1996, a convicted felon and documented gang member, with a criminal history including burglary, illegal firearm possession, narcotics violations, and robbery.
Suspect: Craig Jones MB/DOB 06-24-1989, a twice convicted felon and currently on parole for robbery, had an extensive criminal history to include illegal firearm possession, narcotics violations, vehicle theft, and parole violations.
The Juvenile Subject was detained and was on active juvenile probation for burglary violations.
LASD Detectives assigned to the MCB Burglary Robbery Task Force are working closely with Santa Barbara Police Detectives as well as other Southern California law enforcement agencies in an attempt to connect this burglary crew to several similar burglaries that were committed throughout the southland in recent months. While this “crew” is likely responsible for several dozen burglaries, investigators believe there may be other likeminded “crews” also committing similar crimes.