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Police may have busted smash-and-grab ring in central Utah

(Photo Credit: Sevier County Jail)

RICHFIELD – A ring of smash-and-grab burglars from California appears to be targeting stores in Utah.  Police caught two of the suspects after $23 thousand worth of generators were stolen in Sevier County.

The thieves didn’t take long to get what they wanted from the Jorgensen’s Honda in Richfield.

“They smashed in the front door and, within two and a half minutes, removed all 18 generators,” according to Richfield Police Chief Trent Lloyd

There were four suspects who came to the scene in two separate cars.  Investigators got a lucky break after a clerk inside a Chevron in Beaver spotted a vehicle after hearing the description on a police scanner.

“That clerk made all the difference, just that one person willing to say something.  We wouldn’t be where we’re at without her help.”

The Sevier County Sheriff’s Department found the vehicle, with all 18 generators inside.  They arrested 26-year-old Carlos Fuentes from Los Angeles, and a 16-year-old from Hawthorne.  However, two other suspects are still on the loose, and investigators have very little to go on to find them.

Lloyd believes the thieves have done five of these burglaries in Utah.  He says they admitted to doing a smash-and-grab in Cedar City, and he claims he’s seen surveillance video of them pulling off a job in South Jordan.  He thinks the thieves are part of a well organized ring.

“Coming all the way out from California, doing five of the same things…  if it smells like a skunk and walks like one, then it must be,” Lloyd says.

He wouldn’t be surprised if the group is behind more burglaries than that.

“I’m betting that there’s more throughout the western United States.”