The recovery of one pile of stolen loot led to another and another, according to one San Diego County sheriff’s detective.
“I’ve been trying to find all the victims,” said detective Laura Whalen on November 9. “Right now, I have 28 confirmed victims.” The detective said the recovered property came from residential and vehicle burglaries.
Whalen said Carlsbad police served a search warrant on a residence in early October and police recovered stolen property connected to a case on which Whalen was working. DNA evidence led investigators to another burglary suspect, who was taken into custody; property recovered from that arrest was connected to other burglaries.
Whalen, an 18-year veteran with the sheriff’s department, said DNA recovered from the next pile of loot eventually led investigators to more suspects, and then more suspects and more piles of stolen goods.
She declined to name all the suspects and persons taken into custody so far, but did confirm that Gabriela Vergara, 35, arrested in Valley Center in late October, is allegedly connected to the string of burglaries.
It is suspected that this burglary ring reaches into another county, the detective said. Recovered items are connected to crimes in Ramona, Poway, San Marcos, Escondido, Fallbrook, Vista, Encinitas, Rancho Bernardo, Temecula, and Orange County.
Deputies in Valley Center displayed some recovered loot from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. on Saturday, November 9.
(corrected 11/12 6:20 a.m.)