Street racing enthusiasts? CHP believes thieves used parts, sold leftovers

May 05, 2006
Santa Paula News

The identifies of 11 suspects arrested last week by a special multi-agency task force have been released, and law enforcement officials believe that members of the car theft ring were street racing enthusiasts who stole cars in order to obtain new parts for their Japanese make racers.

By Peggy KellySanta Paula TimesThe identifies of 11 suspects arrested last week by a special multi-agency task force have been released, and law enforcement officials believe that members of the car theft ring were street racing enthusiasts who stole cars in order to obtain new parts for their Japanese make racers. And what they didn’t use themselves they sold.On April 27, warrants were served at 10 locations throughout the county and five Santa Paulans, Jorge Hurtado, 23, Richard Powell, 21, Anthony Martinez, 20, Mark Olivo, 20, and Miguel Ornelas, 18, were arrested without incident. Also arrested were Oxnard residents Michael Mendoza, 25 and Francisco Perez Jr., 18, as well as an unidentified 17-year-old male juvenile. Other arrests included Richard Espinoza, 18 of Fillmore, 27-year-old Angel Combest, and Joshua Webb, 27 of Naval Base Point Mugu.The charges against each suspect vary, but they include possession of stolen property, vehicle theft and altering vehicle identification numbers. Arrests are expected to continue, as well as recovering autos and parts in addition to those already recovered, according to California Highway Patrol Officer Steve Reid. More charges might be added - including conspiracy - as the case moves forward.
The investigation started about nine months ago, when street racers told the Ventura Police Department that their cars were being stolen. Investigators were told that those vehicles that were recovered had parts missing, including the engines. The street racers told investigators that they suspected some of the people they raced against were actually the culprits.A nine-month investigation was launched under the banner of the Ventura County Auto Theft Taskforce (V-TEC), which included the Department of Motor Vehicles and the National Insurance Crime Bureau, several law enforcement agencies and the CHP. Among the cars uncovered during the warrant searches were Nissan Skylines, which starred in the street racing film “2 Fast 2 Furious.”All the recovered vehicles had high-performance engines and “spoilers” to enhance speed, although various engine parts and decorative items - including expensive rims and custom steering wheels - were also found during the warrant searches. In all about $100,000 worth of vehicles and parts were recovered through the warrant searches.



Site Search

Tel: 805 525-6048  marydeines@roadrunner.com
E-Subscribe

Subscribe

E-SUBSCRIBE
Call 805 525 1890 to receive the entire paper early. $50.00 for one year.

webmaster