In what industry officials are calling the largest theft ring in their company’s history, detectives seized more than 35 stolen vehicles, heavy equipment and recreational vehicles during a 10-hour search warrant operation late Monday (Jan. 11) in Los Angeles County, Calif.
The find came following a LoJack Corp. stolen vehicle recovery system hit near the Interstate 5 Golden State Freeway and Templin Highway Monday morning, according to KHTS radio, Santa Clarita.
The deputies followed the hit to a remote 60-acre property in a rural area of northern Los Angeles County. Near the location, in the 31000 block of Faimham Street, Castaic, deputies discovered a Bobcat Skid-Steer Loader that had been stolen from the Mission Cemetery, Mission Hills, on Jan. 5. Deputies could see other potential stolen vehicles in the area and detectives from the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station and the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department’s Taskforce for Regional Auto Theft Prevention (TRAP) were called in.
A search warrant was obtained and after a 10-hour operation, involving more than 15 detectives and sheriff’s personnel, investigators recovered vehicles and other items they believe to be stolen. All told, the property and vehicles had a value estimated at well over $1 million. During the investigation, detectives found and recovered 35 vehicles and countless other items including motorhomes, John Deere and Kawasaki Mule utility vehicles and even an Airstream Inc. camping trailer reported stolen out of Santa Clarita more than three years ago.
The detectives also recovered two boats and several trailers with missing or altered identification numbers. The discovery included boat, utility, flatbed, recreational vehicle, box, car carrier, water tank, construction and other trailers. Also recovered were two heavy duty Caterpillar tractors, generators, construction equipment, welders and off-road vehicles.
“This prolific theft ring bust underscores the ongoing role organized crime plays in the theft of assets such as construction equipment and vehicles,” said Patrick Clancy, vice president of law enforcement, LoJack Corp. “We are proud that our proven technology and processes were able to help detectives with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and TRAP (Task Force For Regional Auto Theft Prevention) West dismantle one of the largest theft rings in LoJack’s history.”
“This is a substantial discovery when LoJack officials are calling it one of the largest in their history,” said Capt. Anthony La Berge of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station. “I am proud of our patrol deputies and their daily proactive efforts to keep our community safe,” concluded La Berge.
The investigation is ongoing. No arrests have been made at this time and detectives are describing the property owner as a person of interest. There is no further information available at this time.