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7 Arrested, $200,000 in Stolen Property Recovered in Raids

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies said Monday that they have recovered more than $200,000 in stolen property and arrested seven people alleged to be part of a young but sophisticated burglary ring that hit more than 40 houses in the Antelope Valley in the past four months.

Deputies who raided four residences in Lancaster, Pearblossom, and Llano found VCRs, fur coats, jewelry, two big-screen televisions and several guns, authorities said.

The fact that so much of the stolen property was in storage alerted authorities that the suspects, ranging in age from 17 to 22, were sophisticated enough to try to avoid suspicion by waiting to sell off the merchandise.

In custody on suspicion of burglary were Michael Benke, 21, of Lancaster; Mindy Benke, 21, of Lancaster, who authorities said is Michael Benke’s wife; David Boyer, 18, of Llano; Greg T. Covey, 19, of Pearblossom; Sean K. Ferrell, 19, of Palmdale; Richard Nutt, 22, of Lancaster; and a female juvenile from Palmdale, 17. Michael Benke, Boyer, Covey and Ferrell are being held at the Antelope Valley sheriff’s station on $150,000 bail. Nutt is being held on $100,000 bail. Mindy Benke is free on $5,000 bail, and the juvenile girl was released to her parents.

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The string of burglaries took place on the west sides of Palmdale and Lancaster and in the affluent community of Quartz Hill.

But there were no suspects until shortly before noon Friday, when deputies identified a car being driven by Michael Benke and Ferrell as one that had been reported stolen that morning, officials said. A high-speed chase ensued through the streets of Palmdale and Lancaster.


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