Brownsville police: 13 suspects arrested in connection with string of car thefts
A total of 13 people were arrested in the span of five months as part of an investigation into an auto theft ring, according to the Brownsville Police Department.
The arrests began September 2022 when three individuals – Jacob Guevara Martinez, Marco Antonio Salas and Rogelio Rivera — were arrested after stealing vehicles from Sunrise Mall and attempted to cross into Mexico in the stolen vehicles, according to a news release.
That same month, John Stephen Hollinger stole a vehicle from the 100 block of Old Port Isabel, according to a news release. He was arrested Sept. 27, 2022 in Willacy County on an unrelated charge.
On Oct. 24, 2022, Sala stole another vehicle from Southmost Avenue and was taken into custody the following month, police said.
From Oct. 29 through Oct. 31, three individuals — Jonathan Balderas, Jose Delgado and Roel Rubalcava — stole multiple vehicles from the Sunrise Mall parking lot and the 700 block of Springmart boulevard. They were all arrested Nov. 1, 2022.
RELATED: More charges pending for Houston men accused of auto theft in Brownsville, police say
The three men from Houston were found with what police said was computer equipment such as modules, keys and a key programmer that allowed the suspects to steal vehicles.
"They go and insert and get into the vehicle they use these items by programming the key while inside the vehicle, and they leave,” Brownsville police investigator Michael Parker said.
The investigation began to grow following those November arrests, Brownsville police said.
On Dec. 8, Alejandro Villarreal was arrested on a charge of stealing a vehicle from 45 Sam Pearl Boulevard.
On Dec. 28, three individuals — Javier Ortega, Eric Jay Rodriguez and Victor Pena Cardoza — were arrested after stealing a vehicle from the 2800 block of Pablo Kisel.
The most recent arrests occurred on Wednesday, when two men – Cristian Garza and Prince Juliuos Arnold — were arrested in Brownsville for allegedly stealing a vehicle in McAllen.
RELATED: Two Houston-area men arrested in connection with car theft ring
Police say they believe the theft ring operates out of the Houston area. In six of the cases, a GMC Sierra truck was stolen.
“Some of the crooks specialize in turning those on, and they have the equipment to do so with those keys,” Parker said. “So they're faster at it and so that's why they target them."
Brownsville police added that more suspects and charges are pending.
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