Like a scene out of Hollywood thriller, the undercover detectives watched from an unmarked car in the middle of the night as burglars walked out of a woodworking business through a smashed glass door.
The officers continued to watch – undetected – as the suspects loaded saws, drills and dozens of other expensive power tools into a truck.
As the suspects prepared to make their getaway about 2:30 a.m. Thursday, the officers moved in and arrested two men believed to be behind a two-month crime spree that hit at least 10 woodworking businesses in Anaheim and beyond.
“The arrests were no accident,” said Anaheim Deputy Police Chief Craig Hunter. “Our Crime Analysis Unit recently identified that we had an issue in the area – and they worked quickly with detectives to develop a strategy to solve it.”
Hunter said detectives deployed undercover patrol officers to key locations with a highly probability of being burglarized, including the 2700 block of Miraloma – the site of the arrests.
The result: “We made arrests before other businesses were hit. These arrests illustrate the importance of our strategic approach to solving crime and crime prevention,” Hunter said.
Arrested on suspicion of burglary were Carlos Tapia Cruz, 26, of Garden Grove and Leonardo Catalan, 22, residence unknown.
A substantial amount of stolen tools have been recovered, and police are working with victims to identify and return them to their rightful owners.