Pickup theft ring involving juveniles busted in Southern California

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Updated Apr 26, 2017

Two dozen stolen trucks were recovered recently in Southern California after a theft ring there involving several juveniles was shut down by law enforcement officials.

Sixteen people were arrested, including six minors, following a yearlong investigation by various law enforcement groups, according to the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.

Among those arrested included Jurupa Valley, Calif. resident Gerardo Monsivais, 35, and 26-year-old Jose Garcia of nearby Perris who the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department say led the theft ring and trained juveniles to steal Chevrolet Silverados and Ford F-250s.

The investigation began in April 2016 after the Jurupa Valley Police Department recovered a stolen Silverado where the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) had been switched. A probation card belonging to Monsivais was found inside the truck, according to a Riverside County Sheriff’s Department press release.

Monsivais’ address was listed on his probation card, which led police to his home where they reported finding a stolen Hummer, a shotgun, a large amount of fictitious VIN plates and vehicle titles. However, Monsivais was not at home at the time.

Police then contacted Riverside Auto-Theft Interdiction Detail (RAID) to assume the investigation.

Following a yearlong investigation, which included Monsivais’ recent arrest, RAID recovered 37 stolen vehicles, 24 of which were Chevrolet and Ford pickup trucks. Monsivais, who had been hiding inside a tow truck at the time of his April 11 arrest, and Garcia are both in custody facing multiple charges for vehicle theft, operating a chop shop, VIN tampering and possession of stolen property.

The sheriff’s office reports that Monsivais and Garcia taught youths to steal vehicles “due to the minimal risk of significant penalty associated with juvenile arrests.”

RAID is a multi-agency task force comprised of law enforcement personnel from the California Highway Patrol, Riverside Sheriff’s Department, Riverside Police Department, Murrieta Police Department, National Insurance Crime Bureau, and the Department of Insurance.  RAID’s mission is to investigate, arrest and prosecute criminals responsible for Riverside County vehicle theft.  Anyone with information related to vehicle theft can report anonymously to RAID at 951-955-2770.