SAN JOSE, Calif. - San Jose police investigators, Monday, announced the capture of multiple suspects wanted in connection with so-called smash-and-grab robberies in the South Bay.
Detectives said six men, all in their late teens or early 20s, are a burglary ring which operated in San Jose and other cities.
"These are violent individuals," said Sgt. Christian Camarillo, a spokesman for the San Jose Police Department. "Very happy to get this group of people in jail, so they don’t continue to victimize our community."
Camarillo described the six as "rudimentary," but also heavily armed. A police evidence photo shows multiple weapons, some of which according to detectives, had been converted to fully automatic weapons.
Police say their M.O. was to break into stores, smash display cases, take merchandise and run off and fence the stolen property immediately.
Months of detective work led to a one-day round-up Apr. 14.
Ryan Nguyen had his Quick Silver jewelry repair shop inside Eastridge Mall targeted late last year. In surveillance video provided by Nguyen, four men can be seen causing thousands of dollars in damage, as they ransacked his small store. The crime forced him to close for several days, and reconsider his employment options.
"It’s horrifying for me. And I guess it’s for others too. But it’s good news that police and law enforcement step up," Nguyen told a crowd of media cramped into his store seeking comment.
Monday’s development did not escape notice by the Silicon Valley Central Chamber of Commerce. Its president hailed the arrests.
"To our members, this has been a top issue. And I’m sure this news will be positive news," said president & CEO Christian Malesic.
He said smash-and-grab crimes the past year-plus infected retail with a climate of fear, which further hurt the COVID business climate.
"We don’t know if they’re just going to take the hammer and break open the case and steal whatever. Or if they’re also gonna shove somebody down the steps and hit them with the hammer or stab them with the knife," said Malesic.
Detectives said the six suspects – Andrew Maravilla of Hayward; Maurice Sweet of Pittsburg; Charles Evans of San Leandro; Michael Earle of Menlo Park; Noah Tekle of San Leandro; and David Foster of Newark -- are charged with multiple crimes including robbery, and possession of illegal firearms.
"When we realized there was one group responsible for more than one robbery, we’re going to give them a little bit more of a priority," said Camarillo.
San Jose police investigators said this crew of six is not the only crew operating in the Bay Area. They continue to look for tips and surveillance video from the public to assist detectives in their pursuit of criminal suspects. And, detectives are tracking and will arrest those people who buy stolen merchandise.