Irvine Police Arrest Organized Crime Group

IRVINE, Calif. (March 27, 2024) – The Irvine Police Department (IPD) arrested four adults for a distraction theft.

On Friday, March 22, 2024, at about 3:00 p.m., IPD officers were conducting surveillance in shopping centers due to recent organized distraction thefts. An officer observed two males and two females walk to a sedan parked to the rear of HomeGoods. The group was walking briskly and kept looking over their shoulder as if they were making sure nobody was following them. One of the males began to manipulate the rear temporary license plate of the vehicle by folding it up so it was not readable.


Officers followed the vehicle to the Irvine Spectrum where they were stopped. During a search of the vehicle, a wallet not belonging to any of the occupants and a magnetic device used to decode credit card information was discovered. The owner of the wallet was identified and confirmed it was missing from her purse after shopping at HomeGoods. Luckily, the suspects were not able to use her credit cards before being caught. The attached video shows the four inside HomeGoods attempting to steal a wallet from a different victim but were unsuccessful video. These tactics are consistent with organized retail crime.

They were identified as Maria Beltran, 52, North Hollywood, Thonson Yeamier Gomezbarreto, 32, North Hollywood, Laidy Viviana Moraleon, 36, Los Angeles, and William Alberto Melomontenegro, 38, Los Angeles. They were arrested and booked at the Orange County Jail (OCJ) for burglary, conspiracy to commit burglary, grand theft, and possession of identity theft material.


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