Residents of Fallbrook and Temecula who were victims of residential burglaries over the last six months may have a chance to reclaim some of their stolen property. On April 18, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Dept. made dozens of stolen goods open for viewing by victims for that purpose. The items were recovered when three arrests were made in February in connection with the crimes. Arrested at the time were Erik Watte, 26, Henry Zermeno, 22, and a 17-year-old male juvenile.
“There is a large amount of jewelry, coins, military medals, firearms, computer items, collectibles, and various other trinkets that we are trying to reconnect to their rightful owners,” said Detective Bill Yavno.
A number of burglary victims have viewed the items already. As part of the process, Sheriff’s authorities ask victims for their corresponding burglary case number, shown on the report filed.
“This particular burglary case involved a lot of locations, and we think there are more victims out there,” said Lt. Todd Richardson. “Fortunately, every day the Sheriff’s Dept. is able to identify and return goods to people. This case is just a little difficult because of the number of victims; it’s kind of rare.”
Yavno said at this time, 13 residences are known to have been targeted in the burglaries, and an additional incident involved the theft of a vehicle.
Authorities said about one-third of the stolen property was found by officers inside a storage shed in Temecula.
A video is included with this story and can be viewed. Anyone who sees an item that they believe belongs to them should call the Fallbrook Sheriff’s Substation, (760) 451-3100, and ask for Detective Yavno.
This case also involved approximately 25 cases of mail theft in Fallbrook and the Rainbow community. U.S. Postal Inspector Rick Vida said, “We know of 25 victims of mail theft in this case so far. The suspects were looking for money and credit cards. They used some of the credit cards to purchase items online.” Anyone suspecting they have also been a victim of mail theft in this case can call (877) 876-2455.
Vida, who handles criminal investigations for the postal service, said while this has been a serious incident, “the mail is still the safest way to correspond.”
“We deliver 528 million pieces of mail each day in the United States, mail theft has not been that big of problem,” he said.