PALMDALE – Two men arrested Tuesday, for stealing a stove from a vacant Palmdale home, planned similar heists throughout Antelope Valley, authorities said.
“These guys were hitting vacant abandoned homes and stealing the appliances out of them,” said Palmdale Community Relations Deputy Robbie Royster.
Julio Camacho, 35 and Victor Ramirez, 36, both from La Habra, were arrested around 11:30 a.m. Tuesday for stealing a stove from a vacant home at 40034 Denham Drive, Royster said.
An alert neighbor spotted the men moving the stove from the home and called the Palmdale Station. The neighbor also followed the men and got a description of their vehicle. The thieves dumped the stove as they were fleeing, but they were arrested less than an hour later by deputies waiting for them on the 14 Freeway.
Royster said the men actually broke into two abandoned homes Tuesday, stealing a total of three stoves. They ditched all the appliances as they were fleeing; however, authorities have recovered the property.
The thieves may have planned to hit several more vacant homes in the area, Royster said.
“They had a list of abandoned homes in the Antelope Valley area,” Royster said. “They’re not from this area, so they’re coming up here from the LA area to specifically target appliances in homes.”
“This is something that’s been going on for the last couple of years, and had it not been for that neighbor that called into the station, we wouldn’t have caught these guys,” Royster continued.
He said Antelope Valley residents can help prevent similar crimes by reporting suspicious activity around vacant homes in their area.
“If neighbors see people in trucks that don’t look like they’re from a moving company or a corporation, please call the station,” Royster said. “Deputies can go out there, identify the individuals, make sure they’re working for a realtor or the bank and make sure everything is legit.”
To report suspicious activity at vacant homes in your area, contact the Palmdale Station at 661-272-2400. If you would like to provide information anonymously, you can do so by calling Crimestoppers at 800-222-8477.