The sophisticated burglary of a cell phone store in La Quinta played key evidence for police in the Los Angeles area to arrest two men suspected of stealing about 100 cellular telephones, and who may have been responsible for other commercial burglaries in Arizona and California.
Felix Noe Gonzales, 28, and Jorge Cuadra, 35, were taken into custody without incident after investigators were able to link them to an Oct. 19 commercial burglary at a T-Mobile store at 4135 Pacific Coast Hwy. in Torrance, where approximately 100 cellular telephones were stolen, said Torrance police Sgt. Robert Watt.
Watt said additional evidence links Gonzalez, a resident of Los Angeles, and Cuadra, a resident of Downey, to other burglaries in California, including one in La Quinta.
Moreover, investigators discovered that the commercial burglary in Torrance mirrored other T-Mobile burglaries in Arizona and California reported over the last two years -- specifically by the suspects' method of operation and level of sophistication, the police sergeant said.
The burglars would access the stores via the roof, tunnel through drywall and a false ceiling to dismantle and steal surveillance equipment, he said.
Torrance police investigators worked with T-Mobile investigators and were able to identify three suspects in a February 2013 attempted burglary in La Quinta, where the method of operation mirrored several other T-Mobile burglaries, he said.
"Torrance investigators utilized information provided by T-Mobile investigators, as well as intelligence obtained from covert surveillance to locate the recently stolen phones, which had been stashed in a residence in the central area of Los Angeles," Watt said. "Coincidently, the address was connected to one of the previous arrestees from the La Quinta investigation -- Feliz Noe Gonzales."
Gonzales and Cuadra had a preliminary hearing on Feb. 19 where they faced conspiracy and burglary charges, he said.
— City News Service.