Another prime example of how sophisticated these criminals have become. Yes, the Long Beach Police did crack down on robbery and home invasions, but are residents doing what they can to prevent being victims of such craziness in the first place? If you know that you are living in an area that is prone to crime, specifically burglary, robbery and worst of all, home invasion, then you owe it to yourself to do what you can to prevent becoming a victim. These low-lifes have no respect for you, for your family or for your neighbors. Protect yourself and be ready to alert the police in case you fall victim to these scum bags.
LONG BEACH – A gang task force led by Long Beach police swarmed the city and portions of Orange County and the San Gabriel Valley early Wednesday, cracking down on what police say is a gang-led robbery crew.
A total of 19 suspects from five Asian gangs, most of them Cambodian, were identified during a four-monthlong investigation into a series of home invasion and other violent robberies, said Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell.
“The suspects worked across (city and county boundaries) with other members of gangs and rival gangs,” McDonnell said.
After the predawn raids were carried out at 42 locations in and around Long Beach, police logged 17 felony arrests, the chief said.
“There are no outstanding suspects,” said Gang and Violent Crimes Lt. Alex Avila. “We are looking for information about others who may have been involved in the (crew) or similar crimes.”
Seized in the operation were guns; narcotics, including methamphetamines, Ecstasy and a cookie jar full of marijuana; cash; jewelry, including Movado and Rolex watches; computers and printers; and high-priced wheel rims.
“There was a tendency here (of) more specialized crimes,” McDonnell said. “There was a degree of sophistication…they weren’t just out there grabbing whatever came their way.”
Though the suspects were booked on a litany of charges, including possession of stolen goods, drugs and firearms, and identity theft and elder abuse, further counts will likely be added once the case is turned over to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, the chief said.
“We always look at possible enhancements, gang enhancements, and conspiracy charges,” McDonnell said, adding that investigators also consider the possibility of federal charges when applicable.
The elder abuse case was added after police raided one of the locations, a home in Long Beach, and found an elderly man living in squalid conditions, the lieutenant said.
“We found several gang members living in horrendous conditions and we found an elderly gentleman … who appeared to be neglected,” Avila said.
The chief and Avila said the county Department of Children and Family Services case workers are now helping the man.
The operation involved 166 law enforcement members from various agencies, including the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Operation Safe Streets Bureau and California Parole, police said. Other agencies included the Westminster and Fountain Valley police departments. LBPD took the lead because the bulk of the crimes and the suspects were in Long Beach, Avila said.
It was too early to confirm if all the items seized were stolen, the chief said.
“The firearms will all be tested for ballistics, and we’re still looking at all the evidence.” McDonnell said.
The chief declared the sweep operation a success, saying it identified and removed ruthless criminals from Long Beach and other city streets and also identified a disturbing crime trend.
“What’s unusual is to get gangs from rival and allied gangs working together, so we’re seeing something unusual here,” the chief said.
McDonnell declined to say what tipped investigators to the robbery crew, citing witness and victim safety.
“The strength of the gang is their ability to intimidate,” the chief said.
He urged residents with information about these and similar crimes to tell police, and noted anonymous tips are accepted via text and Web at www.tipsoft.com.
Tipsters can also call Gang Enforcement Detectives Jason Garcia and George Ayala at 562-570-7370, McDonnell said.
“We need the public’s help in identifying these criminals who prey on our communities,” he said.
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