SANTA NELLA - Seven people suspected of operating a West Side theft ring were arrested Saturday, July 6, by Merced County Sheriff’s Office detectives.
The arrests culminated a months-long investigation into numerous thefts and related crimes on the West Side, most specifically in the Santa Nella area, according to a sheriff’s office news release.
The Santa Nella mobile home park became a focal point in the investigation after detectives received information that a large amount of stolen property was being kept or sold within the park. Authorities also learned that other crimes were being committed within the park, many of which were not reported due to fear of retaliation.
On July 6 detectives, with the assistance of the sheriff’s STAR team, brought the investigation to a close with the arrests of seven individuals believed to be involved in the theft ring. They were identified by the sheriff’s office as Efrain Jimenez Sr., 48; Efrain Jimenez Jr., 19; Ricardo Jimenez, 26; Damian Blanco, 19; Andrew May, 24; Katelyn Anthenien, 29; and James Ryan, 20.
All suspects are residents of the Santa Nella area, the sheriff’s office reported.
According to the news release, the individuals face various felony charges including but not limited to arson, assault, burglary and possession of stolen property.
Detectives are continuing to work the case in an effort to ensure that all victims are identified and represented in the upcoming judicial process.
Anyone with information about recent criminal activity in the Santa Nella area is asked to call Detective Daniel Ramirez, 710-6005, or Detective Brandon Soto, 710-6006. They were the lead investigators in the case.