PALMDALE – Two men busted Tuesday for stealing stoves from two vacant homes have been linked to 11 similar burglaries in Palmdale, this year alone.
Evidence indicates that 36-year-old Victor Ramirez-Albor and 35-year-old Julio Camacho-Monteil are part of much larger burglary ring organized to steal stoves from vacant homes throughout Southern California, authorities said at a press conference Thursday.
“These are all foreclosed or Fannie Mae-owned homes that they’re going in and taking the appliances from,” said Lt. Cory Kennedy. “We’re still working on what they did with them afterward.”
Kennedy said the men may be selling the stoves to downtown vendors.
“Whether [the vendors] legitimately believe they’re not stolen, that’s something we will find out,” Kennedy said. “We have a lead on one location in Los Angeles that we are following up on.”
Ramirez-Albor and Camacho-Monteil were arrested Tuesday after an alert neighbor spotted them moving a stove from a vacant home at 40034 Denham Drive, Kennedy said. When the neighbor approached the men to find out what they were doing, the pair fled and dumped the stove while fleeing.
The neighbor followed the men, got a description of their vehicle and contacted the Palmdale Station.
The duo was arrested less than an hour later on Palmdale Boulevard. Officials said the men actually burglarized two vacant homes on Tuesday, and both stoves were recovered.
Kennedy said the men had a large stack of keys that appeared to open real estate lock boxes, as well as a GPS unit with numerous Palmdale addresses programed in. The suspects also had a handwritten list that contained the addresses to 51 vacant homes in Palmdale, Long Beach, Compton, Simi Valley, Ojai, Oxnard, Ventura, and Carson. Some of the Palmdale homes on the list had already been burglarized, Kennedy said.
“We have 11 confirmed locations in Palmdale that we can directly link to those burglaries, just this year, since January,” Kennedy said.
In all the cases stoves were stolen, he said.
Palmdale Detectives are contacting law enforcement agencies, in the cities affected, to work a joint investigation aimed at taking down the alleged burglary ring, Kennedy said.
“We’re going to have to contact probably seven different agencies that are looking for the same break that we got with these guys,” Kennedy said.
He said Tuesday’s arrest may have crippled the burglary ring’s operations in Palmdale, but warned that residents should still be on the lookout for suspicious activity at vacant homes in their area.
The burglary ring targeted Palmdale, but didn’t appear to hit Lancaster, Kennedy said. He speculated the thieves may have preferred Palmdale because it’s closer to the freeway to get out of town.
If you recognize the suspects or their vehicle – described as a primer gray colored 1978 Ford Pickup (see photo) – contact the Palmdale Station at 661-272-2400.
Victor Ramirez-Albor and Julio Camacho-Monteil have been booked for multiple counts of burglary, with a bail of $50,000.