SAN JOSE (CBS-SF) — Nearly two-dozen alleged members and affiliates of a West Oakland gang have been charged in a car burglary ring that has struck across the Bay Area, the Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office announced Monday.
A grand jury indicted 21 suspects for more than 50 car “sophisticated” car break-ins in San Jose, Milpitas, Santa Clara, Palo Alto, Los Altos, Mountain View and other cities, prosecutors said.
Among the suspects was 23-year-old Michael Jones who has pleaded not guilty to the July 2 armed robbery of two news crews reporting on the homicide of Kathryn Steinle at Pier 14 in San Francisco.
The suspects, who face felony vehicular burglary charges with gang allegations, are believed to be members or associates of the “Ghost Town Gang,” according to prosecutors.
They allegedly rented cars and roamed through mall parking lots, including Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto and McCarthy Ranch Marketplace in Milpitas, where they targeted certain cars they broke into in small groups.
The suspects allegedly stole from the vehicles hundreds of iPads, iPhones, laptops and other electronics that were easy to resell.
“What’s exceptional here is the brazenness of their scheme and the scope of the conduct involved — there’s hardly a city in the entire Bay Area that this group didn’t hit,” Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Sandip Patel said in a statement.
The suspects in-custody were identified as Jones, Steven Espadron, 32, Jawon Finch, 30, Danny Garcia, 31, Joey Haines, 31, Ricky Joseph, 27, Deante Menefee, 27, Eddie Nute, 21, Sitteruiet Taylor, 36, Lamont Williams, 26, and Exrill Wilson 32. They were scheduled for arraignment Monday afternoon at the Hall of Justice in San Jose.
Other law enforcement agencies that assisted in the investigation include the Fremont, East Bay Regional Parks, Pinole, San Mateo and San Francisco police departments.
Garcia has also been charged with attempted murder on a Santa Clara police officer earlier this year, according to prosecutors.
On Feb. 9, Garcia allegedly drove away from the officer who was attempting to pull him over for an auto burglary in Santa Clara and continued to Sunnyvale, according to Sunnyvale police.
Garcia briefly came to a stop before he allegedly drove at the officer, who fired at the suspect.
The 31-year-old fled and later went to San Francisco General Hospital to be treated for a gunshot wound before he was taken into custody.
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