Burglary string broken
Tips from victims led to the apprehension of a group of teen-agers that investigators believe might be connected to a string of burglaries at the east end of South Lake Tahoe.
Guillermo M. Perez, 18, three 15-year-old males, and a 17-year-old male, all of South Lake Tahoe, were arrested Tuesday around 9 p.m. on suspicion of burglary. Perez was also charged with suspicion of committing an assault with a deadly weapon.
Detective Martin Hewlett, of the South Lake Tahoe Police Department, said that since the end of November there has been 38 residential break-ins east of Johnson Boulevard. The majority of the properties hit were vacation homes, but occupied dwellings were also a target.
Witnesses told police that a group of Hispanic males ranging in age from 17 to 21 years old had been seen near the residences. On Tuesday, a victim, who told police he saw the burglars leaving his residence, identified Perez to Detective Scott Willson from a photo in a South Tahoe High School yearbook. The victim told police that when he confronted Perez at the time of the burglary, Perez raised his shirt displaying a handgun tucked into his pants.
Around 5 p.m., the victim called police from a convenience store saying he had seen Perez at the Jackpot Inn. Hewlett said that when officers arrived at the inn, Perez and the three 15-year-olds were standing outside a room. Hewlett said Perez attempted to flee but quickly was apprehended. The other three were detained and agreed voluntarily to go to the station for questioning.
The same afternoon another victim, who was home at the time of an attempted break-in, called to say he had seen one of the suspects at the Shamrock Inn. The 17-year-old was contacted at the inn and the victim was brought for a field identification.
Hewlett said that during questioning all the suspects admitted to several residential burglaries and one admitted knowledge of multiple burglaries. The suspects allegedly told investigators they sold the majority of the stolen property on the street for money to buy marijuana and food.
Hewlett said that some of the stolen property was recovered from the motel rooms. He said it was unlikely that the high-end electronic items that were taken would be recovered because, according to the suspects, they were immediately sold.
Perez is being held in the El Dorado County Jail in lieu of $25,000 bail. The juveniles were booked into juvenile hall in Placerville.
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