More information has been released from authorities about an alleged ring of thieves arrested in Lake Elsinore this week.
Seven people were taken into custody Tuesday evening, most of them suspected of being “habitual” scrappers who've stolen copper coils from residential air conditioning units across the area, said Sgt. Todd Pauling of the Lake Elsinore Police Department.
The investigation into the ring began Jan. 9, after police received reports of numerous A/C copper coil thefts, the sergeant said. Detectives were led to an address in the 18000 block of Lakeshore Drive where they began conducting surveillance into the group to understand how they were operating, Pauling explained.
“During the surveillance, detectives observed A/C units being stolen from vacant or for-sale homes in the Southwest Riverside County area, then taken to the Lakeshore residence where the A/C units were cut apart and later recycled for cash,” Pauling said.
Tuesday detectives arrested one of the alleged thieves, 44-year-old Danyelle Hamlett-Dunbar (jail records show her as Danyelle Denise Hamlett) after she attempted to recycle about 2,000 pounds of stolen A/C unit coils, the sergeant continued. After her arrest, detectives went to the residence on Lakeshore and arrested Warren Dilallo, 39, Brian Udink, 40, Michael Salinas, 24 and 39-year-old Rebecca Hernandez-Udink (jail records show her as Rebecca Hernandez), the sergeant said.
The investigation revealed the five were friends or related to one another, Pauling said.
During the arrest, another suspect identified as Justin Carter, 27, was recognized at the scene by detectives as one of the individuals who participated in cutting the A/C coils, the sergeant said. Carter was also arrested.
Collectively, the individuals netted thousands of dollars from recycling the A/C unit coils in Lake Elsinore, Pauling said.
“Investigators estimated the group is responsible for approximately $100,000 in damaged and stolen A/C units, and $20,000 to $30,000 in recycled profit,” Pauling said.
Another man, 25-year-old Ryan Dunbar (jail records show him as Ryan Amarante Dunbarr), was arrested at the Lakeshore location for an unrelated outstanding felony warrant, the sergeant said.
All the other suspects were booked into local jails on suspicion of various crimes ranging from burglary to grand theft.