Four people have been arrested in connection to burglaries at various celebrity homes in Los Angeles, the Associated Press reports.
Arrests included Tyress Williams, 19, Jshawne Daniels, 19, and Damaji Hall, 18, on suspicion of burglary, as well as Hall's mother, 34-year-old Ashle Hall, on suspicion of grand theft. On Tuesday, Williams pleaded not guilty to four felony counts of first-degree burglary.
The other three suspects were not immediately charged and remained jailed on Tuesday.
The arrests came after a car was stopped in Los Angeles on Friday for a reason unrelated to the burglaries and a police search yielded a handgun and stolen items.
At a news conference, police said that the suspects are believed to be part of a larger burglary ring targeting prominent figures including celebrities, athletes and Hollywood producers. Police also displayed items taken in the thefts in the hope that they could be identified by the victims.
The suspects reportedly wore button down shirts and drove luxury cars to fit in the high-end neighborhoods before changing into casual clothes ahead of the break-ins. They would then knock on the victims' door to make sure no one was home before breaking in through a door or window.
The thieves, who are believed to be gang members and associates, would then quickly raid the home's master bedroom, taking items including cash, weapons, jewelry and more in minutes, occasionally even before the home's alarm system notified police.
According to Lillian Carranza, commanding officer of the LAPD’s Commercial Crimes Division, more arrests are expected in connection with the crimes and the ring is believed to possibly be responsible for around two dozen burglaries.
Homes targeted include those belonging to Rihanna, Christina Milian, Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig and Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Robert Woods, according to police. The victims were reportedly chosen based on social media posts and travel schedules that revealed they would be away from their homes.
Carranza said that the suspects referred to their crimes as "flocking."
“They flock like birds to areas where the rich and famous resided,” she said, via the Los Angeles Times. “Once a potential target home was selected, a larger vehicle would be utilized to give the suspects the opportunity to change into more comfortable clothing and hoodies to avoid being recognized and cart away the stolen goods."0comments
Carranza said that in one targeted home, police found a list of other potential suspects' names and addresses, including Matt Damon, LeBron James and Viola Davis. The break-ins follow a recent spree of celebrity home burglaries that have been occurring over the past two years.
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