Investigators Look for Potential Car Theft Victims
On Thursday February 9, 2023, investigators from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Taskforce for Regional Autotheft Prevention (TRAP) unit, held a press conference to release photographs of two suspects that stole cars from unsuspecting victims.
Early in the month of January, TRAP partnered with the South Gate Police Department and worked closely to identify two suspects responsible for the theft of multiple vehicles in the city of South Gate. Arnulfo Lira and Jose Parga of Bell Gardens were arrested and they’re responsible for stealing vehicles of at least 15 identified victims.
The suspects would lure their victims to parking lots of various businesses, but mainly the parking lot of a Walmart store in the city of South Gate and would steal their vehicles by using fraud, false pretenses, and even force. On some occasions, when the victims tried backing out of the deal, the suspects produced firearms and carjacked some of the victims.
The victims would meet the suspects on social media platforms and were drawn to meet them by false business propositions. The suspects would offer the victims cash to transport merchandise to the Fresno area in California. Once the victims were in the parking lot, the suspects would take control of the vehicles and steal them. On some occasions, the suspects persuaded the victims to rent vehicles and ultimately stole the rented vehicles. The suspects targeted Spanish-speaking victims.
Investigators would like to identify additional victims or anyone who can provide information regarding the suspect’s crimes. Anyone with information is urged to call 1 (800) 299-8727 (TRAP). Information can also be provided anonymously by calling Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS (8477) or using the website http://lacrimestoppers.org/.