SAN JOSE, Calif. -- Detectives not only arrested five suspected gang members and recovered two stolen minivans, but they also returned about 20 metal sculptures to a California artist who thought he had lost much of his work.
Santa Clara County Sgt. Rick Sung said the artist was pleased to get back his scrap metal creations of dinosaurs, Spiderman and Roman soldiers.
The San Leandro artist could not immediately be reached for comment. But according to Sung, he was visiting family in San Jose on Sunday, when he noticed his green Nissan Quest minivan missing, and reported it stolen.
Two detectives from the Regional Auto Theft Task Force spotted the minivan Monday about 11 a.m. in San Jose, along with four young men inside, Sung said. They watched and followed. Several hours later, the four suspects in the Quest met up with a driver in what turned out to be a stolen green Ford minivan, Sung said. More detectives were called in, and by the afternoon, the five were arrested near a South Bay metal shop.
Inside the Quest were about 20 metal sculptures, which average about $100 to $165 in value. When detectives searched one of the suspect's homes on Tuesday, Sung said they discovered more statues and equipment that came from the same artist.
In the last three months of 2010, the task force arrested 52 suspects on reports of 83 stolen cars out of Santa Clara County, Sung said. The same task force recovered a stolen GMC truck on Feb. 15, after it was stolen from a Gold's Gym parking lot, and which had an elderly pug dog named Jennifer inside. Both were returned to their owners.
"These guys do a heck of a job," Sung said. "And often, their hard work goes unnoticed."
The San Jose suspects, who Sung said have gang connections, arrested are: Hershain Alcantar, 19, who posted his $10,500 bail and is now out of custody; Selim Garcia, 20, who was in custody with no bail; Andy Gonzalez, 27, who was in custody on $23,000 bail; Jesus Fajardo-Gonzalez, 19, who was in custody on $10,500 bail; and Olsen Garcia, 22, who was in custody on $15,500 bail.
The charges they face include: car theft, possession of stolen material, being in possession of a dangerous weapon, and resisting arrest.
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