For Immediate Release
Duo Arrested on Complaint Alleging Burglary Spree of SoCal, Nevada Coin and Precious Metal Stores
Pair Suspected in 21 Burglaries during 2 ½-Month Crime Spree
SANTA ANA, California – The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) working together with local law enforcement arrested two individuals yesterday on a federal criminal complaint charging them with committing and attempting 21 early-morning burglaries of collectible coin and precious metal stores, along with a federal firearms licensee in Southern California and Nevada in 10 weeks, netting more than $292,000 in stolen coins and merchandise.
An ATF task force comprised of detectives from Brea Police Department and Fullerton Police Department, with the assistance of the Signal Hill Police Department and Huntington Beach Police Department, successfully investigated and identified the suspects responsible for a string of burglaries across Los Angeles, Orange, and San Bernardino counties in California as well as, in Las Vegas, Nevada. The ATF task force conducted extensive surveillance of these subjects across two states leading to the arrests.
Caleb Jamal Griffin, 20, of Long Beach, and Owen Lazaro Thompson, 49, of Las Vegas, Nevada, were arrested yesterday and are scheduled to make their initial appearances in United States District Court this afternoon. Each man has been charged with interstate transportation of stolen goods.
Griffin was arrested yesterday in Fullerton after he was observed burglarizing a coin dealer. Thompson was arrested at his residence without incident, and a search warrant executed there resulted in the seizure of suspected stolen merchandise from the crime spree.
According to an affidavit filed with the complaint, Griffin and Thompson conspired to commit at least 21 burglaries or attempted burglaries of retailers between July 10 and September 29. During the burglaries, Griffin and Thompson typically entered the businesses by breaking the glass window at the front of the stores, sometimes tying a tow line to a Jeep SUV to pull off the stores’ security gates by driving away from the business, the complaint alleges. The suspects remained inside each of the businesses for less than 90 seconds and the burglaries typically occurred between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m., the complaint alleges.
During one burglary in Fullerton, Griffin and Thompson allegedly drove a vehicle through the front of the store. During another burglary, the defendants allegedly used a blow torch to cause the store window to shatter.
Griffin and Thompson are suspects in the following burglaries:
1. Fullerton Coins, 123 N. Raymond Ave., Fullerton, California July 10;
2. Fullerton Coins, 123 N. Raymond Ave., Fullerton, California, July 14;
3. Tangible Investments, 32001 Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, California, July 27;
4. Covina Coin & Jewelry, 204 S. Citrus Ave., Covina, California, July 28;
5. Attempted burglary at About Face Coins, 475 N. Tustin St., Orange, California, Aug. 4;
6. Attempted burglary at Liberty Coin, 10122 Ave., Huntington Beach, California, Aug. 11;
7. Morgan’s Jewelers, 50-C Peninsula Center, Rolling Hills Estate, California, Aug. 13;
8. Morgan’s Jewelers, 22200 Hawthorne Blvd., Torrance California, Aug. 13;
9. Laguna Coins, 23583 Moulton Pkwy, #112, Laguna Woods, California, Aug. 16;
10. Sahara Coins, 7293 W. Sahara Ave., Las Vegas, Nevada, Aug. 18;
11. Liberty Coins, 2201 East Willow St., Signal Hill, California, Aug. 26;
12. CNC Coins Vault, 1814 N. Tustin Ave., Santa Ana, California, Aug. 26;
13. Quicksilver Coin Company, 22421 El Toro Road, #H, Lake Forest, California, Aug. 27;
14. Imperial Pawnbrokers, a federal firearms licensee, 777 W. Imperial Highway, Brea, California, Aug. 29;
15. Fullerton Coins, 123 N. Raymond Ave., Fullerton, California, Aug. 29;
16. Liberty Coins, 2201 East Willow St., Signal Hill, California, Sept. 1;
17. Liberty Coin, 10122 Ave., Huntington Beach, California, Sept. 8;
18. Las Vegas Coin Company, 9555 S. Eastern Ave., Las Vegas, Nevada, Sept, 17;
19. Alhambra Coin Center, 254 E. Main St., Alhambra, California, Sept. 21;
20. Hough Coin, 16816-D Main St., Hesperia, California, Sept. 24;
21. Fullerton Coins, 123 N. Raymond, Fullerton Ave., California, Sept. 29.
"The investigation and prosecution of these dangerous individuals is not possible without the extraordinary partnership ATF possesses with local law enforcement agencies and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Central District of California," said ATF Special Agent in Charge of Los Angeles Field Division Carlos A. Canino. "Through collaboration with our law enforcement partners, ATF identifies and removes these criminals from our communities."
This case will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Scott D. Tenley and Assistant United States Attorney Jeff Chemerinsky of the Santa Ana Branch Office.
A complaint contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.