Torrance Police Arrest 14 in ‘Ransack Burglary’ Ring

Times Staff Writer

Torrance police said Saturday that they have arrested 14 members of a burglary ring that specialized in “ransack” burglaries stretching from the South Bay to West Covina. Investigators recovered automatic weapons, a shotgun, television sets and stereo equipment.

The suspects, all Long Beach residents of Vietnamese descent in their 20s, were being held in lieu of $7,500 bail each, said Lt. Mike Tamble.

“It is a significant ring,” said Lt. Noel Cobbs. “I can’t recall ever having a burglary ring that large. We have been having a lot of ransack burglaries. If these people are responsible, it has been going on for at least three to four months.”

A ransack burglary is one in which the burglars ransack the house and leave a mess.


Cobb said that the arrests, which began Thursday in West Covina, grew out of the work of a special undercover anti-burglary team. “They identify known or suspected burglars and surveil them until they commit a crime,” he said.

The first two who were arrested had come to the attention of the team because of activity in Torrance, he said. Torrance undercover agents followed the pair to West Covina and arrested them after they allegedly burgled a home, said Cobbs.

Acting on information provided by the suspects, investigators sought five search warrants that night and began rounding up other alleged members of the ring Friday, Tamble said.

"(The investigators) didn’t expect it to blossom out like this,” he said. “They were on a simple surveillance, and didn’t know it would develop into a ring.


"(They) brought the last of them in at 1:30 a.m. (Saturday), and even though they had one more search warrant to serve, they said, ‘That’s it, we can’t do any more. We’re going to bed,’ ” he said.

Police would not disclose the locations of the places they searched. A public viewing of the stolen goods was to be scheduled so that victims could identify their property, he said.