3 charged in string of jewelry store robberies across the western US

3 charged in string of jewelry store robberies across the western US

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FARMINGTON — Three Chilean nationals were charged Wednesday with committing a string of jewelry store heists across the western United States.

Tanie Arancibia Villar, 25, of Northridge, California, Abraham Pablo Herrera Montecino and Cristian Alejandro Pierola Sepulveda are charged in Davis County's 2nd District Court with engaging in a pattern of unlawful activity and criminal mischief, second-degree felonies, and three counts of attempted burglary, a class A misdemeanor.

Police in Utah, Arizona, Colorado and California have been working to catch this group.

"Their modus operandi is to cut the power to jewelry stores soon after the stores close for the weekend. They then monitor the police response to the alarm call at the jewelry store. Once the police determine it appears to be a false alarm and leave the area, the group typically waits for the alarm system's battery backup to die before forcing entry into the jewelry store," the charges state.

The trio has allegedly broken into jewelry stores by going through the roof, through neighboring businesses, and through windows.

A police detective in California was "pinging" one of the defendant's phones and discovered it was in the Layton area on May 12 and 13. On May 13, Wood's Jewelry Store was robbed after a power outage caused the burglar alarm to go off, the charges state.

"After inspecting the store and ensuring the doors were locked, the patrol officer left," according to the charges. The next day, police discovered that someone had broken into the store by going through the roof.

Fadel's Jewelry in Bountiful reported a similar scenario on May 11 and May 12.

On May 24, detectives traced one of the defendant's cellphones to Scottsdale, Arizona. There, police monitored the group as they "went to several jewelry stores. Montecino and Sepulveda were later arrested in Peoria, Arizona, after committing a similar jewelry store burglary. During that arrest, Arancibia Villar escaped and her current whereabouts are unknown," the charges state.

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Pat Reavy is a longtime police and courts reporter. He joined the KSL.com team in 2021, after many years of reporting at the Deseret News and KSL NewsRadio before that.


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