Cops finally caught up with some local jewelry thieves as they cruised along Interstate 80 -- in the middle of Nebraska.
The tale begins on the 300 block of 29th Avenue, a quiet residential spot near upscale Sea Cliff. Jewel thieves plotted what police are calling a "brazen daytime burglary." At 3 p.m. on April 3, the thieves broke into the home, where they purloined heirloom jewelry and several hundred smackeroos.
The crooks were none too subtle. Eyewitnesses provided the San Francisco police with all the information they needed to know: the New Hampshire license plate number of the getaway car.
The obviously non-California plates made it all too easy. Police at the Richmond station put out a
nationwide crime alert for the vehicle, which had already crossed back over the Bay
Bridge and headed for home on the East Coast.
Somewhere outside of Grand Island, Nebraska (which is not much of an
island at all), a State Patrol
officer spotted the car blowing down the highway.
He pulled the driver over and quickly determined that the car -- and the thieves -- were the same ones wanted back in San Francisco.
It seems that the San Francisco heist was just one of many for this cross-country caper:
Investigators recovered several hundred pieces of jewelry and nearly
$20,000 in the car. One of the suspects tried to run away after being pulled over, but was quickly caught.
All four suspects were cuffed and hauled to jail and charged with receipt of
stolen property: Camilo A. Ceron-Jimines, 22, of Burien,
Washington; Jonathan Rodrigues, 27, of Jackson Heights, New Jersey;
Ricardo A. Panuela, 38, of Union City, New Jersey; and David Morales, 41 from Queens, New York.
San Francisco police are still trying to link the suspects to the Richmond District burglary and determine where the rest of the goods came from.
That might be quite an undertaking, with a trail leading all across the West.
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