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Investigation details Suspected car theft ring sophistication

BROWNSVILLE, Texas (ValleyCentral) — According to the Brownsville Police Department, the South Texas Auto Theft Task Force has made arrests through investigations into auto theft rings suspected of stealing vehicles throughout the Rio Grande Valley beginning in 2022. continues.

Investigator Martin Sandoval, a spokesman for the Brownsville Police Department, said his investigation linked the groups based on the tactics used to seize the vehicle and how the stolen car was transported to Mexico, police said. says.

Investigators noted many vehicles were seized with valid keys and alerted the task force that the auto thefts were from sophisticated rings, Sandoval said.

“What makes them sophisticated, like any other theft ring or thief, is their familiarity with people breaking windows, smashing ignitions and robbing cars,” Sandoval said of ValleyCentral. told to “Well, some of these large groups had keys that weren’t coded, and they had computers that coded these keys to specific cars. That’s how I got into the car.”

In some thefts, Sandoval said, the vehicle had a computer on it that he was able to activate, which allowed him to steal the car.

Police are now monitoring dense areas such as shopping malls, clubs and restaurants. These areas are where authorities suspect cars have been targeted most frequently, Sandoval said.

arrest timeline

September 2022: According to the Brownsville Police Department, auto theft arrests began on Sept. 2, 2022, with the arrests of Jacob Guevara Martinez and Marco Antonio Salas.

Police say Martinez and Salas stole a 2015 GMC Sierra from Sunrise Mall. Police said one of the men was arrested at the Veterans Bridge when he tried to drive the car to Mexico.

September 3, 2022: According to the Brownsville Police Department, Rogelio Rivera was arrested on Block 700 of International Boulevard on suspicion of smuggling a 2017 Chevrolet Silverado from the Sunrise Mall and attempting to cross it to Mexico.

September 14, 2022: John Stephen Hollinger was arrested by Wilacie County on Sept. 27, 2022 on unrelated charges for allegedly stealing a 2012 Volkswagen Routan from 100 blocks on Old Port Isabel Road, according to police. increase.

October 24, 2022: Salas stole a 2015 Volkswagen Passat from the 4200 block on Southmost Road in Brownsville, police said. Salas was arrested for the second time by Brownsville police on Nov. 9, 2022 at his 800 block of N. Expressway 77 Frontage Road, Brownsville PD said.

October 29, 2022: Jonathan Valderas, Jose Delgado and Roel Rubalcaba are suspected of stealing a 2016 GMC Sierra from a Sunrise mall parking lot, police said, citing a 2017 Ford Raptor and a 2017 Ford Raptor on October 30, 2022. He tried to bring a 2008 Chevrolet Trailblazer there. The trio allegedly stole his 2016 and his 2017 GMC Sierra from his 700 block at Spring Mart on Oct. 31, 2022, police said. All three were arrested in the Tenaza neighborhood of Brownsville on November 1, 2022.

December 2, 2022: Alejandro Villarreal allegedly stole a 2014 Chevrolet Corvette from 45 Sam Pearl Boulevard, according to Brownsville PD. He was later arrested on a warrant at Brownsville and the Mexico Bridge, according to police.

December 28, 2022: Brownsville Police arrested Javier Ortega, Eric Jay Rodriguez, and Victor Pena Cardosa (also known as Miguel Pena). He is suspected of stealing his 2015 GMC Sierra from his 2800 block on Pablo Kisel Boulevard. Police said the three were arrested in his 500 block on D Street.

January 4, 2022: The latest arrest in the auto-theft ring occurred on January 4, 2023, on the 900 block of Ruben M. Torres Boulevard, police said. Prince Julius Arnold and Christian Garza allegedly stole a 2022 GMC Sierra from the McAllen area and were arrested in Brownsville after officers stopped Sierra traffic.

Those investigations are still ongoing, police said.

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