REDLANDS – A task force, investigating series of burglaries and thefts in an unincorporated area between Riverside and San Bernardino counties, made four arrests and recovered thousands of dollars in stolen property last week.
The four men, who police said have been operating since January, were all residents of Yucaipa.
Edward Todd Champ, 47, and Ahmad Jamal McAlister, 38, were arrested when patrolling officers stopped a white Ford Ranger truck at Live Oak Canyon Rd. in the early morning hours. Champ was also wanted on a parole violation.
Police discovered construction equipment and parts, plus mail that had been stolen from four different locations, in the pickup. Police said two mountain bikes were discovered, “which may possibly be unreported stolen property.”
Lt. Travis Martinez, a Redlands Police spokesman who was leading the investigative detail, said the belief was that the “thefts were being committed by the same suspects.”
Martinez said police recovered over $70,000 in stolen property to 11 different victims that lived in four cities. He said a special unit with various tactics and resources was designed to investigate.
That arrest, said Martinez, led detectives to serve a search warrant at a residence in neighboring Yucaipa at the 12000 block of 14th St. Detectives located over $45,000 in stolen property, including a trailer, construction equipment, power tools, hand tools, appliances, air compressors and tractor parts.
At the 14th St. residence, Richard Blair Whitling, 48, was arrested for possession of a controlled substance. Cecil Hunter, 43, was arrested for outstanding warrants.
Further investigation, said Martinez, led detectives to a storage facility in Yucaipa where a stolen motorcycle, four firearms, furniture, dirt bike riding gear, antiques and mountain bikes were discovered. A stolen ATV was also discovered at a residence in San Bernardino.
Police obtained a $100,000 bail enhancement on Champ.
Press Enterprise: $70,000 worth of stolen property recovered