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News Release

Friday, November 21, 2008

Media Relations

Criminal Burglary and Auto Theft Ring Busted

Los Angeles:  The Los Angeles Police Department is extremely pleased to report that a far-reaching criminal burglary and auto theft crew has been identified, disrupted and arrested.  During the latter part of October, 2008, the Department’s specialized auto crimes unit named Community Effort to Combat Auto Theft (CECAT) began working leads on the auto theft crew, suspected of stealing cars throughout the San Fernando Valley and transporting them to Mexico.

Several victims were identified in this extensive and complex investigation, and a vast amount of stolen property was recovered.  This ring of residential and auto theft criminals were committing crimes in the Reseda, Tarzana, Canoga Park and West Hills area of San Fernando Valley, with criminal activities known to extend well into Ventura County.  The CECATs Unit worked closely with various other entities, including the LAPD West Valley Area Detectives, West Valley Area Property Crimes Unit and the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department.  

The criminal investigation and follow-up efforts resulted in the recovery of 9 stolen vehicles, identification of over fifty victims, along with hundreds of items of property recovered from several crimes, including residential burglaries, burglaries from motor vehicles and auto thefts throughout the Valley, including West Valley, Devonshire, North Hollywood and Van Nuys Area.  The vast amount of property recovered required over a week for CECATs Unit members to sort through, identify, and return to the proper owners.  Additional property remains unidentified and was booked into the Department’s property storage unit pending its return to the rightful owners.   

The complex investigation culminated on November 13th, when the District Attorney’s Office filed six felony counts of Residential Burglary, two Counts of Attempt Residential Burglary, five Counts of Grand Theft Auto, and six Counts of Receiving Stolen Property against one criminal, with a bail of  over half a million dollars.  Ultimately, a total of seven suspects, who were determined to be a network of male friends aging from 17 to 20 years of age, will be charged with multiple various felony counts of Burglary, Grand Theft Auto, and Receiving Stolen Property as a result of this highly successful criminal investigation.

The arrestees are four adults and four juveniles.  The adult arrestees are Rami Barnieh, 18, Esteban Solorio-Araya, 18, Michael Landix, 19, and Reza Jabarzade, 20.