CRIME

Suspects booked after alleged vehicle theft crime spree from California to Utah

Aug 22, 2022, 7:05 PM | Updated: 7:06 pm
[FILE] Jail Handcuffs (KSL-TV)...
[FILE] Jail Handcuffs (KSL-TV)
(KSL-TV)

AMERICAN FORK, Utah — Three suspects are in police custody after breaking into a car in American Fork and claiming they work for a crime organization in Chile.

According to court documents, Ricardo Antonio Riffo, 52, Rayza Lee Gonzalez Cerda, 30, and Luis Felipe Cerda de la Puente, 31, from Chile, were pulled over by police after a vehicle burglary call in American Fork at approximately 12:20 p.m. Sunday.

The complaintant called American Fork police reporting that their car window was broken by a man who left in a dark-colored Toyota Carolla with a woman.

While responding to the scene, officers found the Carolla and initiated a traffic stop, but the Carolla didn’t pull over for several blocks, according to the documents.

After the driver pulled over, Riffo exited the vehicle, while covered in blood, and was placed into police custody. The other two suspects were reaching around the car and were also placed into custody.

Officers said they smelled marijuana inside the car and began to search the vehicle.

According to the documents, officers found “Plane tickets, financial transaction cards, and documents containing many different names inside the vehicle. The names did not match any of the occupants.”

The officers also found identification cards for each suspect and a transaction card from Puerto Rico with Puente’s face but a different name.

Officers also found a notebook listing all the items the group stole from vehicles and a backpack with burglary tools. According to arresting documents, the three suspects were taken to the police department for interviews.

Cerda told police that she met with Puente in California to help break into cars and steal valuable items. She stated that Puente used the fake Puerto Rico card to rent their car from California for a week.

“[Cerda] stated they began breaking into vehicles traveling through Nevada into Utah,” the documents state. “They stopped in St. George, Utah, and broke into several vehicles before traveling to Provo to stay in a hotel.”

Puente told police they are all from Chille, and they are with an organization that commits crimes in different countries. He confirmed what Cerda told police and added they stole items from vehicles in California.

Riffo told police that he told the other two suspects not to talk to police if they were ever arrested, according to documents.

He confirmed what Puente and Cerda told police, adding that the criminal organization put him in charge of keeping track of stolen items, and he used the notebook to do so.

During the American Fork burglary, Riffo stated he was in the victim’s vehicle when the doors locked him inside the car, causing him to panic and breaking the front passenger window from the inside to escape. The documents state that Riffo cut himself while escaping causing the bleeding.

Officers contacted the possible owners of the stolen items, including a Cedar City woman who confirmed that her car was broken into Saturday and had her wallet stolen.

Riffo, Cerda, and Puente were booked into the Utah County Jail for:

  • burglary of a vehicle,
  • possessing burglary tools.
  • a pattern of unlawful activity,
  • and illegal acquisition of a financial card.

Puente has an additional charge of forgery.

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Suspects booked after alleged vehicle theft crime spree from California to Utah