High-end tool heist ring thwarted in southern Orange County

ORANGE COUNTY, CA – From late August through October, two burglars broke into vehicles in southern Orange County to steal high-end construction tools, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. On Friday, MPs believe they found the culprits in the city of Anaheim as the couple ventured further north.

Driver and passenger Clarisa Quezada, 26, San Diego, and Juan Carlos Enriquez, 21, San Diego were both arrested on suspicion of a burglary ring.

Vehicles in the southern county towns of Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Aliso Viejo, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Rancho Santa Margarita, Anaheim and Fountain Valley have all been implicated in the thefts, officials said.

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The suspects targeted vehicles “which may contain expensive equipment,” said Orange County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Staff Sgt. Todd Hylton tells Patch.

One of them was arrested at the scene by the South Directed Enforcement Team, an investigative unit that focuses on crime trends, Hylton said. The first arrest was on Oct. 8, with the other suspect arrested by members of the team days later, Hylton says.

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Tool theft trends followed a similar modus operandi: a controlled work vehicle, a broken window, and stolen tools with the same gray minibus, which would be driven by Quezada, seen leaving many crime scenes.

In total, there have been 32 crush-and-seizure vehicle break-ins in towns in southern Orange County since August, the team reported on Friday.

The southern-led law enforcement team announced it believed the suspects were the same culprits in all 32 robberies. According to reports, many of the reported stolen tools are now recovered. Among the loot uncovered during the arrest were:

  • A bulletproof vest.
  • A sports bag with the Mira Mesa High School Marauders logo.
  • Several high-end stolen tools.
  • Tools for committing a burglary.

Authorities are still investigating the recovered items found inside the gray van the suspects were driving.

“The two suspects came from San Diego to commit the crimes,” Hylton said.

If you have been the victim of any of these 32 tool thefts or believe your tools may have been stolen as part of this crime, contact the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and refer to your report. number: 714-647-7000.

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