Suspects arrested for string of commercial burglaries in Visalia
VISALIA – A traffic stop early Tuesday morning lead to the recovery of stolen goods and eventually to the arrest of four suspects.
Around 3:30 a.m. on May 8, Visalia police officers pulled over a car for a traffic violation near Linwood and Noble streets. George Lucatero, 32, and Chris Espinoza, 33, were the occupants in the vehicle. The officers noticed that Lucatero was wearing similar clothing to a suspect they were searching for in connection to the May 4 burglary of a cellular phone store in Visalia.
The officers searched the car and found burglary tools. The investigation then moved to a residence where Espinoza was known to hang out and discovered a large cache of stolen property, most of which were electronics.
While at the house, police arrested Raymond Chavarria, 40, and Raquel Lopez, 39, on drug charges related to methamphetamine found in the house. Lopez was also arrested for suspicion of child endangerment. A 4-year-old was removed from the home by Child Protective Services.
The first two suspects, Lucatero and Espinoza, are believed to be linked to at least 20 commercial burglaries since January. A total of $5,000 worth of stolen property was recovered.
“The majority of the burglaries included window smashes, using rocks or punches, and so by doing that, they were able to tie the burglaries together. And then by locating the property, obviously, they were able to go back and find property specific to individual burglaries,” Sgt. Curtic Brown with the Visalia Police Department.
Lucatero and Espinoza were booked in to the Tulare County Main Jail on suspicion of 19 commercial burglaries and one auto theft.