CYPRESS : Parking Lot Yields a Bounty of Arrests

A single parking lot proved to be a bonanza over the holiday weekend for Cypress police officers.

On Thanksgiving Day at a local motel, officers say they recovered two stolen pickup trucks, a stolen car and stolen refrigerator. They arrested four men on stolen property or drug charges and almost caught a robbery suspect on a stolen motorcycle there but had to settle for catching him later.

Most of this action occurred in the parking lot of the Country Club Inn on Lincoln Avenue, where officers went Friday to investigate the burglary of a refrigerator from one of the rooms. Officer Danny Forniss found a pickup truck that was stolen and arrested its driver, Matthew Blaine Smith, 18, of Long Beach. Smith was held on suspicion of having stolen property and carrying a concealed, loaded pistol.

Scanning the lot, Forniss then found another stolen pickup and arrested its driver, Evan Fredrick Lightner, 25, of Long Beach, who had been staying at the motel. He was held on suspicion of possession of stolen property and a possession of methamphetamines.

All the while, officers became suspicious of a man loitering near the parking lot. A license check of the black motorcycle he was riding showed that it, too, was stolen. The man got away on the motorcycle, however, before officers could stop him.

Later that day, Sgt. Gordon Re arrested two men after finding another stolen car and then found the stolen refrigerator in one of their rooms. Kenneth Berry, 22, of Garden Grove was held in connection with the stolen car and Kevin O'Keefe, 21, of Fountain Valley was held on suspicion of having methamphetamines and the stolen refrigerator.

But it wasn't over yet.

On Friday, a man riding a black motorcycle robbed the Taco Bell restaurant at 5619 Ball Road of several hundred dollars. About half an hour later, Officer Jeff Kepley found the black motorcycle that had been ridden away from the parking lot the day before. He waited an hour for its rider to return and arrested him.

Officer Dave Birozy noted that the man fit the description of the Taco Bell robber. Witnesses subsequently identified the man, Michael Scott Smith, 18, of Long Beach, and all the stolen money was recovered, police said.

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