SJPD arrests 10 tied to commercial burglaries across Bay Area in 'Operation Kickstand'

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- The San Jose Police Department took down a crew of 10 people they believe are tied to dozens of commercial burglaries across the Bay Area.

SJPD's Burglary Prevention Unit led the months-long, multi-agency effort.

The unit identified six people within the crew and obtained arrest warrants for the following suspects-- Joseph Pesti, Paul Neale, Rodney Arrieta, Lilia Mendoza, Carlos Lames, and Morgan Stevenson.

Then on Thursday, the unit, assisted by MERGE, Covert Response Unit (CRU), Street Crimes, Robbery Detectives, Patrol Officers, Community Service Officers, and outside law enforcement agencies, served four search warrants in San Jose and one in Sunnyvale.

The six suspects were then arrested and booked into Santa Clara County jail for a number of felony charges including commercial burglary, and conspiracy.

One search warrant was served at a storage locker in Sunnyvale, three on recreational vehicles in San Jose, and an additional search warrant was served at a home on the 1600 block of Willowgate Drive in San Jose.

Officers found four other suspects at the home. A release by the department detailed, "Ramiro Lozano and Andrea Reyes were arrested for felon in possession of a firearm, and possession of a controlled substance. John Tamez was arrested for felon in possession of a firearm and Veronica Lozano was arrested for possession of stolen identification cards."

The department believes the burglary crew committed dozens of crimes in 13 Bay Area cities, since January 2019.

SJPD listed the following impacted cities: San Jose, Cupertino, Palo Alto, Mountain View, Santa Cruz, Burlingame, Los Altos, Morgan Hill, Walnut Creek, Fremont, Pleasanton, Oakland, and Dublin.

An investigation uncovered guns, ammunition, stolen driver's licenses, credit cards and other stolen property. Also, drugs and drug paraphernalia.

Police Chief Eddie Garcia said while his department has seen a drop in residential burglaries, they've noticed a spike in commercial theft.

"100 different burglaries aren't committed by 100 different people. They're committed by crews such as this," Chief Garcia explained. "And taking down one crew like this really will clear a lot of burglary cases up and prevent many more from occurring."

Garcia said the crew targeted on construction sites, school districts and bike shops.

"We've had two that really fit this case," La Dolce Velo Bicycle Shop owner, Robert Mardell told ABC7 News.

Mardell shared footage of a 2018 hit at his shop along The Alameda in San Jose. Video shows a crook carrying out the first of two $4,000 bikes.

Loss, plus the cost of repairs that meant more money out of Mardell's pocket.

"If I get hit three or four times in a year, that's my salary," he said. "I'm done. I'm over."

However, Mardell is hopeful, "Sometimes the police take an hour to show up and we're frustrated by that. But when we hear good news like this, we're like, thank you, I can't believe this is happening."

Thursday's arrests offer relief to businesses across the region.

"Oftentimes, we don't think of burglary as this type of violent crime. It's a very personal crime to our residents and it's something that they want us to address," Chief Garcia added. "Now, especially with the guns that we recovered, we could see that this type of crime isn't necessarily as non-violent as people make it out to be."

Garcia said his department seized an AR-15-type ghost gun in the investigation.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Lieutenant Greg Lombardo of the San Jose Police Department's Burglary Prevention Unit at 408-537-1200. Tips can be provided using the BPU Tipline at https://www.sjpd.org/bputipline

Persons wishing to remain anonymous may either call the Crime Stoppers Tip Line, (408) 947-STOP (7867), or click the "Submit a Tip" link below. Persons providing information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect may be eligible for a cash reward from the Silicon Valley Crime Stoppers.
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