SAN JOSE — Police announced the arrests of more suspects linked to a string of burglaries at South Bay smoke shops that began with stolen cars being used to smash through locked storefronts.
San Jose police said in a news release on Tuesday that the department investigated 26 burglaries between March and August — many of which targeted smoke shops. During the investigation, police identified six minors and a 45-year-old man that they believed to be suspects in the burglaries.
After arrest and search warrants were obtained, police arrested the suspects in San Jose on Aug. 30. The searches yielded two firearms and evidence related to the burglaries, police said.
The minors were arrested on suspicion of burglary and firearm violations. The 45-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of firearm and narcotic violations and child endangerment, police said.
“Our Officers and Detectives tirelessly conducted follow up and gathered evidence to ensure the dozens of affected businesses receive justice,” stated San Jose Police Department Chief Anthony Mata in the release. “Our Department is committed to enforcing the law, and hope that we can be part of a solution to prevent our youth from getting entangled in the criminal justice system.”
Authorities had announced in late July the arrests of one adult and three minors linked to the spree of smoke-shop burglaries. At the time, police said they were investigating at least 10 burglaries.
Police said the series of burglaries were characterized by a pattern of the suspects using stolen Kia and Hyundai vehicles to ram into smoke-shop storefronts, smashing the exterior to make it easier to go inside, steal merchandise and drive away in the vehicle.
Kia and Hyundai vehicles have made waves over the past year after social media trends exposed a simplified way to steal certain models with turn-key ignitions. The automakers issued software updates in February to combat rising car thefts.
San Jose police posted a YouTube compilation of the alleged thieves bashing through the front entryways of various smoke shops in order to gain access to the merchandise.
Police said the suspects were believed to be responsible for additional burglaries outside of San Jose, but no additional details were released.
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Anyone with any information or surveillance video regarding the above commercial burglaries is urged to contact Detectives Gach and Bergstrom of the San Jose Police Department Burglary Unit at [email protected] or [email protected] or 408-277-4521.