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News Release

Friday, June 20, 2003

Media Relations

South American Theft Ring Foiled in Bakersfield

"South American Theft Ring Foiled In Bakersfield"


Los Angeles: A ring of professional thieves who operated in the San Fernando Valley were arrested by the Criminal Investigation Unit of the LAPD’s Devonshire Area. The officers were working on leads related to a string of jewelry thefts in the San Fernando Valley. On June 6, 2003 at 1:00 P.M., Officers followed the group to the city of Bakersfield and monitored their activities as they entered the Valley Plaza Mall. The suspects were observed operating in well-rehearsed rolls in an attempt to steal expensive watches. The suspects used counter-surveillance tactics in order to evade arrest. The suspects were arrested after exiting the mall.

Follow-up interviews of store employees revealed the employees were aware that the suspects were attempting to distract them so they could steal expensive jewelry. During a search of the suspect’s vehicle, officers discovered several burglary tools, including a "booster bag".

Two of the four suspects had felony fugitive warrants for similar crimes in New York and Texas. One of the suspects was identified through a fingerprint match as being wanted in connection with $75,000.00 theft of Rolex watches in the Arcadia area. Each of the arrestees’ has been charged with Burglary, Conspiracy to Commit Burglary and Possession of Burglary Tools. More arrest’s are anticipated.

Suspect’s Arrested:

  • Sebastian, Ponce, DOB 8-10-71
  • Pizarro, Ricardo, DOB 8-05-64
  • Martinez, Angel, DOB 4-02-72
  • Sandival, Carlos, DOB 3-04-69

Anyone with additional information is asked to call Devonshire Detectives at 818-756-8291. A 24 hour toll free number is available at 1-877-529-3855.

This media release was prepared by Lieutenant Art Miller, Media Relations Section, 213-485-3586.