Advertisement
Share
News

4 arrested in connection with kidnapping, torture, robbery of Costa Mesa jewelry shop owner plead not guilty

Gavel, scales of justice and law books
Four people arrested in connection with the kidnapping, torture and robbery of a Costa Mesa jewelry store owner in December have pleaded not guilty to various charges.
(File Photo / Getty Images)

Authorities said Thursday that they had arrested the last of four suspects in connection with the kidnapping, torture and robbery of a Costa Mesa jewelry store owner in December.

Three of the suspects also are believed to be linked to an earlier attempted kidnapping of a Yorba Linda man who runs a jewelry business in Orange, police said.

In the past two months, Costa Mesa police and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department arrested three men — Marvin Brown, 25, of Diamond Bar and Cedrick Reynolds, 28, and Leonard Berry, 31, both of San Bernardino.

On Wednesday, Costa Mesa police arrested Veronica Berry, 25, of San Bernardino.

Advertisement

Brown, Reynolds and Leonard Berry have pleaded not guilty to charges of kidnapping for ransom, kidnapping, torture, robbery, false imprisonment and battery with serious bodily injury in connection with the Costa Mesa case. Leonard Berry also pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to commit a crime.

Veronica Berry pleaded not guilty Thursday to receiving stolen property and serving as an accessory after the fact, court records show.

Costa Mesa police arrested Reynolds on Dec. 18. The Sheriff’s Department arrested Leonard Berry on Dec. 22 and Brown on Jan. 28.

Reynolds and Leonard Berry were booked at Orange County Jail with bail set at $1 million, authorities said.

Advertisement

Brown is being held without bail, according to officials.

Veronica Berry was booked into Orange County Jail with bail set at $100,000, according to jail records.

Police said in a news release Thursday that three men abducted the 65-year-old owner of Diamond and Jewelry Exchange at 1808 Newport Blvd. on Dec. 4, put him in the backseat of their car and tortured him over several hours. Then, police said, they returned to the store and stole cash and jewelry, setting off the burglar alarm.

They fled and drove to a parking lot near the 55 Freeway in Santa Ana, where they pushed the victim, who was bound and gagged with duct tape, from the vehicle, police said.

Santa Ana police found the man early the next morning and took him to a hospital, where he was treated for a broken nose, jaw, palate and ribs and a damaged kidney, in addition to lacerations and severe bruising on his head and body, according to a Facebook post from his daughter.

The man, who the store’s property manager, Bill Munce, said is a veteran of the jewelry and pawn business, opened the store five years ago.

The Daily Pilot is not identifying the shop owner by name because he is the victim of a violent crime.

Police allege that Reynolds, Leonard Berry and Brown also attacked a Yorba Linda man in his driveway shortly after he returned home from work at 6:15 p.m. Nov. 30. After a brief struggle during which the victim suffered moderate injuries to his face and neck, he was able to fight off the assailants, who left before police arrived, authorities said.

Advertisement

Thursday’s news release said investigators believe the suspects had planned to kidnap the man and burglarize his jewelry business in Orange.

Brown, Reynolds and Leonard Berry have pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted kidnapping in connection with the Nov. 30 incident. Brown and Reynolds also pleaded not guilty to conspiracy to commit a crime.

Support our coverage by becoming a digital subscriber.


Advertisement