A suspected band of thieves has been broken up with the arrests of five men and a woman from Santa Clarita with stealing thousands of dollars in cars, electronics, photography equipment and other items of value from dozens of Santa Clarita Valley residents over the last few weeks, according to SCV Sheriff’s Station officials.
The suspects identified by the station included Evan McLaughlin, 24; Samuel Oseas, 22; Kylie Crawford, 20; Nicholas Menorbooth, 22; and Kyle Porter, 22.
The young adults allegedly broke into cars, and took anything of value. In some cases, the suspects would take the car, too, if the keys were left inside.
The station’s Crime Impact Team led by Sergeant Pete Bringas began investigating the thefts during the first week of June.
“In one of the first in the string of thefts, a Saugus resident’s pick-up truck was stolen out of the driveway,” Bringas said. “The victim’s wallet was in the truck, and the suspects started using the victim’s credit cards at restaurants immediately after.”
CIT Team deputies began working extensively to gather any information that would lead to the identification of the suspects.
The first arrest of a member of the burglary ring occurred on June 12 when McLauglin was taken into custody.
Crime Team deputies continued following leads, working to locate the other members of the ring.
On Tuesday, June 18, there was an unexpected break in the case. The station received a call from a citizen reporting suspicious activity in front of a business in the 26500 block of Bouquet Canyon Road.
A deputy was dispatched to the location and saw a man in a vehicle stuffed with items, including ladies’ handbags and briefcases.
Earlier that same morning, a handful of vehicle burglaries had been reported in the Valencia area, and some of the items matched the description.
The occupant of the vehicle, Oseas, was arrested on grand theft charges. He admitted to a deputy that the items were stolen, and indicated he took them to support his drug addiction.
Two days later, three more members of the ring were arrested — Crawford, Menorbooth and Porter.
By the time the CIT Team’s investigation concluded, six suspects were in custody, five stolen vehicles were recovered, and thousands of dollars’ worth of property returned to victims. One victim received his photography equipment back, valued at $3,000.
“These suspects were going out nightly and admitted to pulling at least 200 door handles per night,” Bringas said. “They were breaking into vehicles and home, at least 5-10 burglaries per night. With the arrests of these suspects, we expect vehicle thefts to go down substantially.”
Sergeant Dan Dantice, who oversees the station’s Crime Prevention Unit, expressed relief at the apprehension of the burglary suspects, but warned the public to stay vigilant in removing items of value from their vehicles, and locking the doors at all times.
“Most of the thefts that occurred were from unlocked vehicles,” Dantice said.