Two suspects arrested in string of coin store burglaries — including two in Huntington Beach and Laguna Beach

People walk through the courtyard at the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives headquarters in Washington, D.C.
(File Photo / Bloomberg)

Two men have been arrested on suspicion of committing a string of burglaries at coin and precious-metal stores in Nevada and Southern California — including in Huntington Beach and Laguna Beach — during a two-month crime spree, authorities said Monday.

Caleb Jamal Griffin, 20, of Long Beach and Owen Lazaro Thompson, 49, of Las Vegas were arrested Sunday, according to the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which worked with local law enforcement agencies on the case.

The suspects are the subject of a federal complaint alleging they committed or attempted 21 early-morning burglaries at collectible-coin and precious-metal stores and a federal firearms licensee, netting more than $292,000 in stolen coins and merchandise, according to an ATF statement.

Two of those burglaries were reported at Tangible Investments in Laguna Beach on July 27 and Liberty Coin in Huntington Beach on Sept. 8, according to authorities. Griffin and Thompson also are accused of an attempted burglary at Liberty Coin on Aug. 11.

“An ATF task force comprised of detectives from Brea Police Department and Fullerton Police Department, with the assistance of the Signal Hill Police Department and Huntington Beach Police Department, successfully investigated and identified the suspects responsible for a string of burglaries across Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino counties in California, as well as in Las Vegas, Nev.,” officials said. “The ATF task force conducted extensive surveillance of these subjects across two states, leading to the arrests.”

Griffin and Thompson are charged with interstate transportation of stolen goods, according to the ATF.

“Griffin was arrested ... after he was observed burglarizing a coin dealer,” according to the bureau. “Thompson was arrested at his residence without incident, and a search warrant executed there resulted in the seizure of suspected stolen merchandise from the crime spree.”

Authorities allege the suspects typically broke glass windows at the front of the stores and used two ropes to yank security gates down. But in one case, authorities allege, they drove a vehicle through the front of a store and, during another burglary, used a blow torch to heat and shatter a store window.

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