Suspects in Mercedes-Benz theft to appear in court

Four people are expected to appear in a Glendale courtroom today in connection with the alleged theft of a new Mercedes-Benz in Las Vegas, police said.

Police stopped the white 2011 Mercedes at 12:48 a.m. Monday on Adams Street and Lomita Avenue after they received information that it had been stolen in Nevada, according to Glendale Police Department reports.

The Mercedes’ occupants — Sarkis Mkhsyan, 24, of Van Nuys, Chelsea Countryman, 24, of Minneapolis, Minn., Gor Atabekyan, 24, of Van Nuys —claimed it belonged to a friend staying at the Glen Capri Inn and Suites on Colorado Street.

The men said they didn’t know the car was stolen, according to police reports. But Countryman told police that Kenia Garcia, 20, of Glendale, who was staying the motel, stole the Mercedes.

Mkhsyan, Atabekyan and Countryman were arrested on suspicion of vehicle theft.

When police went to the motel to look for Garcia, police said they noticed she had reserved the room under the name Sheena Kuniyoshi. Garcia later told police she used the false name because she is a dancer.

Police said the license plate number of the stolen vehicle was written on Garcia’s rental agreement for the room.

Police searched the room and also found several valuables, including a vehicle registration card for the Mercedes, checks, passports and access cards. None of these items belonged to the room’s occupants, the report stated.

Police arrested Garcia on suspicion of vehicle theft.

Las Vegas ranked 17 among 366 cities with highest incidence of vehicle thefts nationwide in 2010, according to the National Crime Insurance Bureau.

While vehicle thefts are high in Las Vegas, the crime isn’t as big an issue locally.

Vehicle thefts have decreased by 10, from 269 for January to October last year to 259 for the same period this year, according the Police Department’s latest crime statistics.

-- Veronica Rocha, Times Community News

Twitter: @veronicarochaLA

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