Authorities announced the arrest of a suspect connected to a string of home burglaries across Southern California in a press conference Thursday.
Jacinto Justin Chavez was arrested Jan. 4 in his Riverside County home after committing a string of residential burglaries in both Los Angeles and Orange counties dating back to at least August 2023.
According to authorities, Chavez allegedly posed as a Brinks home security employee to gain his victims’ trust and access. He mainly targeted elderly people who lived in mobile home parks and had home security signs outside their residences, officials said during the press conference.
Once inside, the 37-year-old allegedly stole the victims’ jewelry, credit cards or credit card information.
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When Chavez was arrested, authorities said they found women’s jewelry in his home, as well as receipts for small electronic items using stolen credit cards and credit card information.
Authorities said that Brinks confirmed that Chavez was not an employee with the home security company.
“This is exactly the kind of case that, as a prosecutor, I love to have in my county,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer at Thursday’s press conference. “This is like stealing from your grandparents. That’s how despicable this is…how heinous this is.”
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The Orange County District Attorney’s Office has charged Chavez with five felony counts of first-degree burglary.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office has yet to file any charges, according to officials.
Authorities believe that Chavez has more victims, and are asking anyone with information to come forward. Similar home burglaries connected to Chavez could have been committed in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside or San Bernardino counties.
“Instead of preventing them from becoming victims…[Chavez] targeted them,” said Spitzer. “He pretended that he was someone there to keep them safe.”
Authorities believe that Chavez does have a partner, but are not sure yet how this partner is involved, nor have they identified them yet.
Officials warned Southern Californians to exercise caution when dealing with home security employees. According to authorities, home security employees often wear a uniform, have identification, have credentials and usually drive a vehicle with the company’s logo.
If a home security employee does approach your residence for an unscheduled visit, officials say “Do not open the door, and do not let them in until you can verify that they are a legitimate employee.” They also urged residents to call their local authorities if this happens.